WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The administration of President Donald Trump may ramp up enforcement of federal laws against recreational marijuana use, a White House spokesman said on Thursday, setting up potential conflicts in states where the drug is legal.
More than two dozen U.S. states have legalized marijuana for either medical or recreational purposes, and the administration of former President Barack Obama mostly looked the other way. But White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the Trump Administration may distinguish between medical and recreational use of the drug.
Spicer’s comments came on the same day that a nationwide poll from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut, showed 71 percent of registered voters favored allowing states to decide whether marijuana should be legal.
“I do believe you’ll see greater enforcement of it,” Spicer said at a news conference. “Because again there’s a big difference between the medical use … that’s very different than the recreational use, which is something the Department of Justice will be further looking into.”
Spicer’s comments drew criticism from the country’s nascent legalized marijuana industry as it was recovering from a scare after Trump’s nomination of former Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, a long time anti-drug campaigner, as attorney general.
“It would be a mistake for the Department of Justice to overthrow the will of the voters and state governments,” Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, said in a statement.
Seventy-five percent of cannabis stocks in an index followed by Arcview Market Research dropped on Thursday after Spicer’s remarks, analyst Michael Arrington said in an email.
A spokesman for Sessions, who was confirmed as attorney general earlier in February, declined to comment on marijuana enforcement on Thursday.
But during his confirmation hearings, Sessions said his job was not to enforce only some laws.
Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, but it has been legalized for recreational use in eight states, including Washington, Colorado and California, as well as the District of Columbia. Last year, legal sales reached $7 billion and generated half a billion dollars in sales taxes.
Among registered voters in the Quinnipiac University survey, just 23 percent said the U.S. government should enforce federal laws against marijuana in states that have legalized it for recreational or medical use, and 71 percent said it should not.
The poll of 1323 registered voters, released on Thursday with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percent, also showed support for marijuana legalization among 59 percent of respondents, with 36 percent opposed.
(Reporting by Roberta Rampton in Washington, D.C. and Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento, Calif.; Writing by Sharon Bernstein and Eric Walsh; Editing by Chris Reese and Richard Chang)
6 thoughts on “White House may boost recreational marijuana enforcement: spokesman”
By Golly, it’s a good thing they re-instated the private prisons for federal use yesterday.
Now they have the free cage space for all the slaves they dictate are guilty of non-crimes.
Put em to work in the prison factories.
Teach em to be “model citizens.”
Sean Spicer was quoted as saying “Freedom for me, but none for thee.” And then walked away uttering the most evil, television movie villain laugh the known world has ever heard.
I KNOW RIGHT? WE GOTTA MAN THOSE “WHACKENHUT” PRISONS………….
Of all of the scuffles between states and feds, pot is one of the few issues that has lead to armed standoff between agents of both parties. If the feds want to start a fight, go into the states and just try shutting down operations. It happened a few times in the last decade in CA. Sheriff or State troopers had to stand guard at dispensaries to back feds down.
Too bad the 10th Amendment is gone.
*** “I do believe you’ll see greater enforcement of it,” Spicer said at a news conference. “Because again there’s a big difference between the medical use … that’s very different than the recreational use, which is something the Department of Justice will be further looking into.” ***
There’s one key thing that both medical and recreational use of pot have in common: both are NONE of the government’s legitimate business.
I’m not a slave. My body and my health are MINE alone. I’d be wrong to dismiss the genuine concerns of family, friends, and trusted doctors, but politicians and their pig enforcers still don’t enter the picture.
Thus, if I choose to smoke pot, snort coke, drink myself into oblivion, and/or repeatedly hit myself in the head with a hammer, that is nobody’s concern but mine as long as I’m not simultaneously interfering with the lives of others. This is commonsense morality.
“But the health care system forces everyone to pay for the decisions of drug abusers!” the statists squeal. Well, then fix your damn health care system so that’s no longer the case! Personal rights are sacrosanct; socialized health care systems are not.
There’s only one logical response…