White House To Crack Down On Recreational Marijuana

In a press conference today, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer made a strong indication of Jeff Sessions’ Department of Justice (DOJ) intentions to crack down on recreational marijuana programs.

“I do think you’ll see greater enforcement," stated Spicer.  "The Department of Justice, I think, will be further looking into [the issue]. I believe they are going to continue to enforce the laws on the books with respect to recreational marijuana.”  Spicer alludes to the fact that the federal government will get involved in states that have legalized recreational cannabis.  "There is still a federal law that we need to abide by when it comes to recreational marijuana and drugs of that nature."

Though it was noted that President Trump is a supporter of medical marijuana and the Congressional rider, also known as the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, prohibits the feds from intervening in medical marijuana states.  Trump, like many other statements, does not have definitive opinion about cannabis.  In June 2015, he was heard saying that legal recreational use was "bad," and that he "felt strongly about it" (whatever that means).  Just a few months later, Trump was quoted saying, "In terms of marijuana and legalization, I think that should be a state issue, state-by-state," he said in October 2015.  

However, Spicer exaggerates the fact that medicinal and recreational use is extremely different.  “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,” he defends.

Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director of Drug Policy Alliance, had a statement after the press conference.  He stated, “Trump seems insistent on throwing the marijuana market back into the hands of criminals, wiping out tax-paying jobs and eliminating billions of dollars in taxes. As for connecting marijuana to the legal opioid crisis, Spicer has it exactly backwards. Greater access to marijuana has actually led to declines in opioid use, overdoses and other problems.”