WASHINGTON -- Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) cited the pop singer Lady Gaga on Wednesday when trying to take Attorney General Eric Holder to task over the president's recent comments on marijuana.
"Lady Gaga says she's addicted to it and it's not harmless, she's been addicted to it," Sessions told Holder during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the operations of the Justice Department. "I just hope you will talk to the president -- you're close to him -- and pull back from this position which I think is going to be adverse to the health of America."
President Barack Obama said in a recent interview with The New Yorker that marijuana was no more dangerous than alcohol, but added that pot use was not something he encouraged.
Responding to Sessions, Holder avoided saying directly that marijuana and alcohol are on the same level, but said he thought "that the use of any drug is potentially harmful, and included in that would be alcohol" and that "any drug used in an inappropriate way can be harmful." He did not comment on whether there was an appropriate way to use marijuana.
Holder, whose department has allowed Colorado and Washington state to go forward with marijuana legalization, also disagreed with Sessions' claim that legalization would make the drug more accessible to children.
"People cannot buy alcohol I guess now until you're age 18, or age 21, but young people find ways to get alcohol because adults can have access to it," Holder said. "I'm not sure that we will see the same thing here, given what we have said with regard to our enforcement priorities."
While it is possible to become dependent on marijuana, research shows that the addiction rate is much lower than for other drugs, including alcohol.