Will Trump’s Justice Department focus its attention on caging and harassing non-violent marijuana users? A particular cabinet pick and revelations from White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer point to yes.
In a recent White House press briefing a reporter asked what the administration’s position on marijuana legalization is when there is a conflict between state and federal law.
After discussing how medical marijuana is somehow federally sanctioned through a legal technicality called a rider (even though it actually isn’t), Spicer pivoted and equated marijuana to the recent opioid crisis.
“When you see something like the opioid addiction crisis blossoming in so many states around this country the last thing we should be doing is encouraging people, there is still a federal law we need to abide when it comes to recreational marijuana and drugs of that nature. “
Wwhen asked by another reporter if we will begin seeing federal action around marijuana enforcement Spicer responded.
“I think that’s a question for the Department of Justice. I do believe you will see greater enforcement of it,”
The current head of the Department of Justice is renown drug war advocate Jeff Sessions. Sessions has a long history of aggressively fighting the drug war and being one of it’s most vocal advocates. Sessions disdain for marijuana is well documented, including the gem where he stated he thought the KKK “were OK until I found out they smoked pot.” and more recently that “good people don’t smoke marijuana”.
Some may wonder if the Federal government has any business in usurping states’ rights in cases of legalized marijuana, particularly when it has passed as a referendum. Despite the 10th amendment of the U.S. Constitution, a Supreme Court ruling says yes, pointing to the Commerce Clause. That does not mean the states won’t fight back. In Washington, the state Attorney General has already commented that he is prepared to battle: ““I will resist any efforts by the Trump administration to undermine the will of the voters in Washington state”.
It is a shame that such action is being discussed in this day and age, especially considering that the marijuana industry is predicted to surpass America’s manufacturing and government in job creation by 2020. In addition to the economic impact of said crackdown, serious questions about individual liberty and states rights emerge from these revelations.