Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington, Friday, Aug. 4, 2017. (Andrew Harnik, Associated Press)

Sessions reiterates distaste for marijuana legalization

"I've never felt that we should legalize marijuana," said the U.S. Attorney General

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions took the opportunity Wednesday to once again express his opinion that legal sales of marijuana are not a positive development for the country.

Sessions took questions from reporters Wednesday during a press conference at a San Diego landing dock announcing record-breaking confiscations of narcotics by the U.S. Coast Guard in the last 12 months.

“By preventing overdoses and stopping new addictions before they start, enforcing our drug laws saves lives,” Sessions said in a prepared statement.

In response to a question about imminent recreational marijuana legalization in California, Sessions said, “I’ve never felt that we should legalize marijuana.”

He went on to echo one of his previous talking points, “It doesn’t strike me that the country would be better if it’s being sold on every street corner.”

In February, Sessions told the nation’s attorneys general: “States can pass whatever laws they choose, but I’m not sure we’re going to be a better, healthier nation if we have marijuana being sold at every corner grocery store.”

In his reply Wednesday he apparently referenced a recent federal report that showed adult marijuana use increasing, saying “We do know that legalization results in greater use. The Medical Association, the Pediatric Association (sic) remain resolutely opposed to marijuana… Federal law remains in effect.”

Earlier this year, the American Academy of Pediatrics published a report warning about the effects of marijuana on teens.

The recent federal data survey that showed adult use up said that teen use was at a 22-year low.

The American Medical Association is opposed to legalization of marijuana. But the organization “>added language to its position statements in 2016, calling for “the modification of state and federal laws to emphasize public health based strategies,” rather than punishing users with jail time.

Both medical groups have called for marijuana to be taken off of Schedule I so that its potential risks and benefits can be studied further.

Sessions’ visit to California came the same morning as only blocks away the state’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra sued in federal court in San Diego to halt construction of a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. In answer to another question from the press at the Coast Guard event, Sessions said he expects Congress to provide funding for construction of the wall.