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ByMaia Szalavitzillustrated byLia Kantrowitz Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/Image by Lia Kantrowitz With America still deep in the throes of its deadliest-ever drug epidemic, you might expect the most powerful people in the country to be ready to try anything supported by evidence to stop the bleeding. Instead, on Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions opened a new front in the War on Weed, rescinding Obama-era policies that discouraged federal prosecution of pot crimes in legal-weed states. Given that study after study suggests marijuana availability is linked to lower overdose death rates, reduced use of opioids for chronic pain, and lower rates of opioid addiction, a stranger, more ill-advised policy is hard to imagine. Though some US attorneys have said that they will not change their priorities in response— and there has been a huge political backlash—the threat of a crackdown will inevitably have a chilling effect on the nascent pot industry. While Congress still prohibits federal money being spent to interfere with medical weed in the states that have it, that provision expires on January 19, and may not be included in the next budget. To understand just how counterproductive it would be to legally target weed right now, it’s worth looking closely at the growing body of data suggesting that pot may be preventing he opioid epidemic from being even deadlier. Going After Weed in the Middle of a Deadly Opioid Crisis Is Insane

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