A House Democrat on Tuesday ratted out several prominent Republican politicians as former marijuana smokers, and dared Attorney General Jeff Sessions to say any of them weren't good people.
Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., referred to a 2016 quote from Sessions in which he implied that people who smoked pot weren't good people, and then asked if that applied to any of his GOP colleagues.
"Is John Kasich a good person? George Pataki? Rick Santorum? Newt Gingrich? Ted Cruz? Jeb Bush? George Bush? Arnold Schwarzenegger? Or Judge Clarence Thomas?" Cohen asked Sessions in a House Judiciary Committee hearing. “Which of those are not good people?”
In a 2016 hearing, Sessions — then a senator — spoke about the need to foster the idea that marijuana is "dangerous, you cannot play with it, it is not funny, it's not something to laugh about … and to send that message with clarity that good people don't smoke marijuana."
Sessions explained that his old comment was delivered decades earlier, and was in the context of trying to reduce drug use in the U.S.
“Part of that is a cultural thing, I explained how, when I became the U.S. attorney in 1981 and the drugs were being used widely over a period of years, it became unfashionable, unpopular […] it were seen as such that good people didn’t use marijuana,” Sessions said. “That was the context of that statement.”
Sessions agreed with Cohen at the hearing, however, that marijuana is not as dangerous as heroin, although Sessions has been a vocal opponent of marijuana legalization.
“We will be looking at rigorous analysis of the marijuana usage, and how it plays out," Sessions warned Cohen. "I’m not as optimistic as you."