Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a longtime opponent of marijuana legalization, is embracing the Just-Say-No attitude towards marijuana and links the industry to violence and crime as he begins his role as the nation's top attorney.
On Monday and Tuesday of this week, Attorney General Sessions said that marijuana sale and use is still against federal law and said he does not think that cannabis is something that should be legalized, despite the fact that more than half of all states have some form of a regulated market already in place and the majority of Americans agree that marijuana prohibition should end.
During a conversation with reporters at the Justice Department, according to Politico, Sessions reiterated his longtime views: "Most of you probably know I don't think America is going to be a better place when more people of all ages and particularly young people start smoking pot," Sessions said.
"We're seeing real violence around that," he added. "Experts are telling me there's more violence around marijuana than one would think and there's big money involved."
During Sessions' speech on Tuesday at the National Association of Attorneys General Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C., Sessions said President Trump tasked him with a goal to reduce crime across America and Sessions says he believes crime and drugs go hand in hand.
"I, as you know, am dubious about marijuana," Sessions said on Tuesday. "States can pass whatever laws they choose, I guess, but I am not sure we will be a better, healthier nation if we have marijuana being sold at every corner grocery store."
When Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi thanked Sessions for his pledge to support the "war on drugs," Sessions said that there is a "desperate attempt to defend the harmlessness of marijuana" as a way to help stem the current opioid epidemic. "Give me a break," Sessions said.
"My best view is that we don't need to be legalizing marijuana and we need to crack down more effectively on heroin and fentanyl, and other drugs," said Sessions.
Sessions' comments come after Trump's White House Press Secretary said that there could be "greater enforcement" of federal law around adult-use marijuana.