Akron Beacon Journal: Jeff Sessions holds a minority view. The attorney general sees marijuana as akin to heroin and other dangerous drugs. He links its use to increased violence. That thinking not only runs counter to the evidence, marijuana posing fewer health risks than alcohol and tobacco, both legal. It clashes with public opinion. A recent Gallup poll found that 64 percent of Americans support legalizing marijuana for adult use.
All of that did not stop Sessions last week from rescinding a four-year-old Department of Justice policy that provided cover for marijuana programs operating legally in states. The 2013 Cole memo told U.S. attorneys to stay away from prosecutions on marijuana charges as long as entities complied with state-run regulatory systems for medical or recreational use.
Fortunately, some lawmakers and other leaders, Democrats and Republicans, have pushed back. Actually, Congress has a task to perform. Every year since 2014, lawmakers have approved language barring the Justice Department from spending any money enforcing federal laws against medical marijuana in states where it is legal. The latest version expires Jan. 19. The hope is, the language will be renewed, despite the declaration of the attorney general.