The Department of Justice and Attorney General Jeff Sessions made an announcement during a news conference on Wednesday, stating that the DOJ is now considering a “rational” policy toward marijuana, though no policy details were given, as reported by CNN.
The Attorney General commented during the announcement, in answer to questions about funding and resources to battle the opioid crisis.
“We’re looking very hard on that right now. In fact, we had meetings yesterday and talked about it at some length,” Sessions said, then added, “I don’t want to suggest in any way that this department in any way believes that marijuana is harmless… people should avoid it.”
The AG’s comments come, even as cannabis advocates and other groups have increased pressure on the federal government to remove marijuana from the list of Schedule 1 drugs, which gives it the same legal status as heroin or cocaine, and defines marijuana as having no medicinal value.
The American Legion earlier this month issued a statement urging the federal government to increase research into medical cannabis for treating conditions commonly endured by veterans, including post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chronic pain, anxiety, among others.
Last week, a study released by the University of New Mexico found that patients with chronic pain who used medical marijuana were able to decrease or cease opioid use, when their pain treatment was supplemented with medical cannabis therapy.
Between 2009 and 2015, deaths from opioid overdose quadrupled, to more than 33,000 in 2015. In study results released today by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), data analyzed for 13,000 opioid overdose deaths found that 60 percent of those who died of opioid overdose had been diagnosed with chronic pain, and many also suffered from psychiatric conditions like anxiety and depression. Patient data was gathered from patients enrolled in the Medicaid program.
Published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, the study is reportedly the largest of opioid-related deaths conducted by the CDC.