NORML Responds: White House Threatens To Crack Down On Legal Marijuana

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer suggested that the Trump administration will step up enforcement of federal laws against recreational marijuana. “I do believe that you’ll see greater enforcement,” Spicer said, and added that the exact policy is “a question for the Department of Justice.”

The Department of Justice is lead by Jeff Sessions, a renowned ardent marijuana prohibitionist.

“If the Trump administration goes through with a crackdown on states that have legalized marijuana they will be taking billions of dollars away from state sanctioned businesses and putting that money back into the hands of drug cartels. This action will lead to swift backlash from the 71% of Americans that think marijuana policy should be dictated by the states and is a foolish and reckless direction to take our country. Sad.” said Erik Altieri, Executive Director of NORML.

The Press Secretary’s comments are similar to those made by Sen. Sessions during his vetting process when he made clear that any use of marijuana remains against federal law and that “it is not the Attorney General’s job to decide what laws to enforce.”

“Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions both hold views that are out of step with mainstream America and they are in conflict with the laws regarding marijuana in over half of the states in this country,” said Justin Strekal, Political Director of NORML. “The fact that President Trump would allow his Attorney General to pursue a path that is so politically unpopular and contrary to will of numerous states is absurd.”

Ultimately, patients and others in legal jurisdictions will only truly be safe from federal prosecution when and if members of Congress elect to amend federal marijuana laws in a manner that comports with majority public opinion and the plant’s rapidly changing legal and cultural status. Congressional passage of HR 975, ‘The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act,’ which NORML supports and/or re-authorization of the Rohrabacher-Farr (now to be introduced as Rohrabacher-Blumenauer) amendment would be steps in the right direction to protect patients and others in legal states from undue federal interference.

If federal politicians were truly listening to the will of the electorate, they would move forward to enact these changes, which are strongly in line with voters’ sentiments. According to national polling data released today, 71 percent of voters — including majorities of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans — say that they “oppose the government enforcing federal laws against marijuana in states that have already legalized medical or recreational marijuana.”

In short, undermining voters’ wishes and state laws in this regard not only defies common sense, it is also bad politics — particularly for an administration that is defining itself as populist in nature.

For more information, please contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at justin@norml.org

Marijuana Legalization: The White House Fights Back

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  One by one, states are taking matters into their own hands and legalizing marijuana in one form or another. For some, it is for medicinal purposes, commonly called “medical marijuana”. For others, they simply go the route of either “decriminalizing” marijuana — which means reducing possession from a felony to a misdemeanor — or legalizing it entirely.

Just because a state decides to not arrest people in possession of marijuana, doesn’t mean the federal government is going to sit back and allow it. Marijuana is considered a Schedule I drug.

This puts marijuana on the same list as heroin, meth, angel dust, and many other very powerful drugs. And it means that the Drug enforcement Agency has a mandate to go after anyone in possession of it.

The White House uses the argument that alcohol cost is higher than revenue, yet alcohol is legal. Cost/revenue comparison alone is no reason to deny individuals the freedom to make a personal choice about their bodies. We tried that once. The cost of Prohibition was far too high.

 

 

White House Threatens to Veto Bill That Would Kill D.C.’s Marijuana Decriminalization Law

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  The White House threatened Monday to veto the 2015 House appropriations bill,  which contains a buried amendment that would effectively quash D.C.’s marijuana decriminalization bill.

In June, Republican Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland, who sits on the House Appropriations Committee, tacked on an amendment to the larger appropriations bill that said D.C. could not use any of its money to enact or enforce its locally passed decriminalization. The bill looks like it will survive its mandated 60-day Congressional review period, which expires Thursday, but if there is no money to enforce the law, it could be rendered meaningless.

The Appropriations Committee already passed the appropriations bill, which now has to make it through a full House vote and a joint conference with the Senate, which seems unlikely at best.