Being skeptical of the health benefits of cannabis is nothing new for conservatives, but our new Attorney General Jeff Sessions is now not only denying them, he seems to be calling claims of them in the mainstream media to be outright lies.

At a meeting before the National Association of Attorneys General Tuesday, Sessions spoke of a recent article which said marijuana could be used as a substitute for opiates in pain relief.

“I see a line in The Washington Post today that I remember from the ’80s,” Sessions said. “‘Marijuana is a cure for opiate abuse.’ Give me a break. This is the kind of argument that’s been made out there to just — almost a desperate attempt to defend the harmlessness of marijuana or even its benefits. I doubt that’s true. Maybe science will prove I’m wrong.”

But science already had proven him wrong, and he wouldn’t have had to look hard to find that out: it was in the same article that he cited. An article published the day before linked to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (by way of another Post article).

That study concluded that there is a statistical correlation between a state having a medical marijuana program and the number of deaths per year from opiate overdose, saying: “Medical cannabis laws are associated with significantly lower state-level opioid overdose mortality rates. Further investigation is required to determine how medical cannabis laws may interact with policies aimed at preventing opioid analgesic overdose.

Sessions did not argue with the science of this study, or the science of several other studies including ones which have corroborated the previously mentioned study’s findings and others which have shown the effectiveness of cannabis as a pain reliever.

Instead, the Attorney General argued with the write up it received in the press, suggesting that the Washington Post, a respected and storied journalism institution, essentially made up the data in “a desperate attempt to defend the harmlessness of marijuana or even its benefits.”

The Trump administration has previously tried to write off the Post’s reporting as “fake news.” In fact, the President himself did this just last week after the Post reported that nine current or former officials had confirmed Mike Flynn’s secret conversations with the Russian ambassador about lifting the U.S.’s sanctions against that country.

The President even used almost identical language to Sessions when talking about this scandal, saying, “I saw one story recently where they said ‘nine people have confirmed.’ There are no nine people. … I said give me a break. I know the people. I know who they talk to.”

Photo via Wikimedia Commons