Sessions conceded that his antiquated views on marijuana might be "unfashionable" on Wednesday, but insisted that "our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs will destroy your life". "We can do this again", reads the of Sessions" prepared speech, which he veered from at times.
"I thank the Attorney General and the Administration for affording me the opportunity to remain as the U.S. Attorney for the District of CT so that I might complete 20 years of service to the Department of Justice in October", Daly said in a statement.
Sessions further doubled down on his "unfashionable" beliefs by suggesting a return to the failed Drug War policies of the Reagan era by bringing back drug abstinence campaigns and "hammering" drug dealers and offenders. At least three recent studies have found a link: A 2014 Johns Hopkins study found that states with medical marijuana laws have a 25% lower opioid death rate than other states; a 2015 RAND study found a decline in opioid deaths of between 16% and 31% in states that had medical marijuana dispensaries; and a 2016 Health Affairs study found that doctors in medical marijuana states wrote fewer opioid prescriptions for Medicaid patients.
Sessions held the call last Wednesday, said the dismissed U.S. attorney, who agreed to speak with CNN on the condition of anonymity.
"I've heard people say we could solve our heroin problem with marijuana", he said.More news: Intruder Arrested After Breaching White House Grounds: Secret Service
Sessions said in a statement that he was "astonished" by suggestions that medical marijuana could be a cure for the epidemic that's ravaging the U.S, telling reporters in Richmond that medical use of the drug has "been hyped, maybe too much". He added that his office may rethink parts of an Obama-era policy largely allowing individual states to legalize marijuana use.
He was nominated after his initial appointment as acting U.S. Attorney, but the presidential appointment was never confirmed by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
"[Sessions is] seeking to divide us", says Nia Ventall, an employee of Planned Parenthood who joined the protesters.
First, he said, a task force including the FBI, ATF, DEA and U.S. Marshals will be focusing on violent crime through the newly formed Department of Justice Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety.
One of the United States attorneys on the call offered to help Sessions and said he was willing to brief him on these specific issues, and Sessions said that he would look forward to having his staff set that up. Under his leadership, the Justice Department will encourage more efforts like that, he said.