Latest blog articles
Trump administration sets sights on state recreational marijuana laws
Thus far into his presidency, President Trump has largely ignored the legalization of recreational marijuana. But during his daily press conference Thursday, press secretary Sean Spicer signaled that might be changing.
“I do believe you’ll see greater enforcement of it,” said Mr. Spicer. He suggested that President Trump views medical marijuana in a more forgiving light: “That’s very different than recreational use, which is something the Department of Justice will be further looking into.”
Eight states – Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Alaska, Colorado, Massachusetts, and Maine – and Washington, D.C. have legalized both medicinal and recreational marijuana. The Obama administration had opted not to enforce federal prohibitions in states that had passed legislation legalizing the drug.
How much do you know about marijuana? Take the quiz[/url]" data-reactid="8">Recommended: How much do you know about marijuana? Take the quiz
A course reversal by the Trump administration would be as simple as repealing a four-page directive issued by then-Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole in August 2013. Regardless of the fact that marijuana is illegal at the federal level, the so-called Cole Memo essentially instructs a hands-off approach by the federal government in states that have voted on laws to legalize marijuana.
On the same day as Spicer’s comments, Quinnipiac University published a poll on Americans’ opinion of marijuana legalization. According to the poll, 59 percent of Americans say marijuana should be made legal across the United States, with majorities of only Republicans and Americans over the age of 65 opposed. However, 71 percent of Americans said they believe the government should not enforce federal laws against marijuana in states that have already legalized recreational or medical marijuana. And voters in every demographic – including Republicans – supported this statement.
President Trump has issued differing stances on marijuana legalization. In the 1990s, Trump told the Miami Herald that the US needed to “legalize drugs to win” the war on drugs. And in an interview with Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly a year ago, Trump said he was in favor of medical marijuana “a hundred percent” while also calling Colorado’s recreational marijuana industry “a real problem.”
“It looks like the first shoe is dropping as expected,” Ethan Nadelmann, the executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, told The Los Angeles Times. “Trump was never all that reassuring on the issue of marijuana legalization.”
But even before Spicer’s press conference Thursday, legalization advocates feared the president would shift in this direction. Trump’s nomination of Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general spoke for itself, they say.
In Pictures[/url] Hazy Debate Over Marijuana " data-reactid="14">Recommended: In Pictures Hazy Debate Over Marijuana
Kevin Sabet, the president of the anti-legalization advocacy group Smart Approaches to Marijuana and a drug policy staffer under the Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama administrations, says Mr. Sessions has been “the single biggest opponent to legalization in the US Senate.”
“We all wondered whether the Trump presidency would be ‘states rights’ or ‘law and order’ when it comes to drugs,” Dr. Sabet told the Monitor in November, after Sessions’ nomination. “The Sessions pick makes many of us think it will be the latter.”
In the 1980s, Sessions said he thought the Ku Klux Klan “was OK until I found out they smoked pot,” which he has said was a joke. And as recently as April, Sessions called marijuana “a real danger,” adding that “Good people don't smoke marijuana.”
But some federal legislators are skeptical that Trump will walk back legislation already approved in eight states and Washington, D.C.
“Go against millions of supporters, against states’ rights, against where the public is?” Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D) of Oregon said in an interview with The Washington Post. “It would be the beginning of tremendous problems for the Trump administration that they don’t need.”
During his press conference Thursday, Spicer also suggested marijuana had a role to play in opioid addiction, despite a lack of clinical evidence of such a link.
“I think that when you see 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 by in terms of when it comes to recreational marijuana.”
This report contains material from Reuters and the Associated Press.
- How much do you know about marijuana? Take the quiz
- For kids struggling with drug abuse, can 'sober' schools make a difference?
- Can decriminalizing marijuana improve public safety in Houston?
Read this story at csmonitor.com
Become a part of the Monitor community
- Become a Facebook fan!
- Follow us on Twitter!
- Follow us on Google+
- Link up with us!
- Subscribe to our RSS feeds!
Ho Chi Minh City to close polluting cement mill after relocation falls through
The grinding factory of Ha Tien Cement Company in Ho Chi Minh City's Thu Duc District. Photo courtesy of Nguoi Lao Dong Ho Chi Minh City is going to shut down a major cement factory next week over environmental concerns after several attempts to relocate the plant. Ha Tien Cement, a leading producer in the country, has been ordered to end all operations at its grinding unit in the northeastern district of Thu Duc by December 31. The polluting plant, occupying a 104-hectare area near… chat_bubble_outline Read More...
Britain's Brexiteers eye opportunity in Trump win
London (AFP) - Donald Trump's improbable election has buoyed eurosceptics in Britain, who hope London's "special relationship" with the world's top economy will result in lucrative post-Brexit trade.US President Barack Obama warned that Britain would be at the "back of the queue" for trade deals if it left the bloc but Trump was pro-Brexit and will likely look more favourably on its trans-Atlantic partner, say Brexiteers.The president-elect's attitude to Britain leaving the bloc was "more… chat_bubble_outline Read More...
Ronaldo favored to win his 4th FIFA award as world's best
Cristiano Ronaldo's remarkable run of success can continue with a fourth FIFA award as the world's best player on Monday.A European champion with club and country last year, the Real Madrid and Portugal forward is favored to beat great rival Lionel Messi and France forward Antoine Griezmann when winners of the rebranded Best FIFA Football Awards are presented in Zurich.Messi leads Ronaldo 5-3 in their career-long duel for FIFA's top individual prize.However, Ronaldo is set to complete a… chat_bubble_outline Read More...
Armed groups clash in Tripoli in worst fighting for over a year
By Ahmed ElumamiTRIPOLI (Reuters) - Rival armed groups battled overnight and into Friday in the worst outbreak of fighting in the Libyan capital Tripoli for more than a year.Black smoke rose into the sky and explosions reverberated around the Abu Salim and Hadba districts, and an eyewitness said a major road nearby had been blocked off with shipping containers. Gunfire echoed across several other neighborhoods.Tripoli is controlled by an array of armed groups which sporadically clash over… chat_bubble_outline Read More...
Private rooms at Pope's summer residence open to public
Castel Gandolfo (Italy) (AFP) - Private rooms at the pope's summer residence in Castel Gandolfo will open to the public from Saturday at the request of Pope Francis, who has never holidayed there in more than three years as pontiff.The Argentine has refused the traditional trappings of the papacy from the start, declining to move into the sumptuous papal apartment in the Vatican and plumping instead to live in a hotel inside the tiny city state.Francis's decision will allow visitors access to… chat_bubble_outline Read More...