White House Press Secretary Hints Federal Marijuana Crackdown May Be Forthcoming

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director February 23, 2017

    CongressWhite House Press Secretary Sean Spicer today said that the Trump administration may engage in “greater” efforts to enforce federal anti-marijuana laws in jurisdictions that have legalized and regulated its adult use.

    In response to a question regarding how the administration intends to address statewide marijuana legalization laws, Spicer indicated that the administration views the regulation of marijuana for medical purposes as distinct from laws governing its adult use.

    He said: “I’ve said before that the President understands the pain and suffering that many people go through who are facing, especially, terminal diseases and the comfort that some of these drugs, including medical marijuana, can bring to them.” He then added, But “there’s a big difference between that and recreational marijuana. I think that 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.”

    On the latter topic, he concluded, “I do believe you will see greater enforcement” of anti-marijuana laws from the Department of Justice.

    While campaigning, President Trump voiced support for the authority of individual states to impose regulatory policies specific to the use and dispensing of medical cannabis, but was somewhat less clear with regard to whether he believed that state lawmakers ought to be able to regulate the adult use of cannabis absent federal interference. For instance, he stated that changes in the law in Colorado — one of eight states to legalize the adult use of marijuana — had led to “some big problems.”

    Senator Jeff Sessions, now US Attorney General, has been historically critical of marijuana policy reforms, stating: “[M]arijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized. … [I]t’s in fact a very real danger.” He also opined, “Good people don’t smoke marijuana,” and previously endorsed legislation to execute marijuana traffickers.

    During his testimony before members of the Senate Judiciary Committee in January, Sessions indicated that as US Attorney General he may take a more aggressive approach than did the Obama administration with regard to states that have enacted recreational use laws.

    Commenting on Spicer’s comments, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: “The press secretary’s comments are hardly surprising and they are similar to comments made by the new US Attorney General Jeff 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.’

    “Ultimately, those who reside in jurisdictions that have legalized and regulated cannabis under state law will only truly be safe from the threat of 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. Certainly, Congressional passage of HR 975, ‘The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act,’ and/or re-authorization of the 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 federal 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.”

    Click here to email your member of Congress and urge them to support The Respect States’ Marijuana Laws Act.
    Click here to email your member of Congress to insist that they join the newly formed Cannabis Caucus.

    160 responses to “White House Press Secretary Hints Federal Marijuana Crackdown May Be Forthcoming”

    1. Anonymous says:

      god no, please, tell us you are kidding, Mr. Spicer. AG Sessions, tell us this is NOT a reality. Come on, AG Sessions, you know it will be federally legal, you know this is the FUTURE. Stop standing in the way, stop us TODAY, hear of us tommorrow. Legalization cannot be stopped. NEVER.

      • MSimon says:

        The only way to get Sessions to change is to make the FUTURE now.

        • Negative Nancy says:

          Jeff Sessions is a life-long bigot who is never going to change. The same thing is true for Trump. They cannot be changed. They must be stopped. And they will be stopped. So what you are doing is deceptive and counter productive.

          I don’t believe you genuinely support legalization. I think you are a Trump mole. I think you support Trump’s bigotry and sexism, and that you are only using this blog to try to promote Trump and his racism agenda, which includes support for marijuana prohibition.

          I believe you are a two-faced liar.

          • Anonymous says:

            Negative Nancy, I voted for Hillary and am NO MOLE. My passion for legalization brings me to TEARS, I have trouble SLEEPING at night in fear of what may come. So you are WRONG!!!

            • Negative Nancy says:

              @ Anonymous,
              I’m sorry, that remark about being a “mole” was in reply to MSimon, and was intended only for MSimon. I should have been more specific.

          • Anonymous says:

            NEGATIVE NANCY. I VOTED FOR HILLARY, NOT TRUMP. My support for legalization brings me to TEARS, I cannot SLEEP at night thinking of what might be coming. So you are WRONG!!!

            • Negative Nancy says:

              @ Anonymous,
              I’m sorry, that remark about being a “mole” was in reply to MSimon, and was intended only for MSimon. I should have been more specific.

        • Anonymous says:

          If your not in politics Simon you should be.. that statement sounded good and meant absolutely nothing.

    2. Fat Freddy says:

      How much more rope should we give prohibitionists before they hang themselves?

    3. csaaphill says:

      I certainly hope people have organization going on rather than sitting back!

      • Evening Bud says:

        @ csaaphill

        I finally figured out your moniker. You see I’m not only a STAUNCH LIBERAL but also a military history buff (I know, they’re not supposed to go together.)

        For the edification of those of you who aren’t military history buffs, csaaphill stands for CSA (Confederate States of America), and A.P. Hill, a confederate commander in the Civil War.

        Hill was a gifted division commander, but far less gifted as a corps commander. It was his corps in fact that blundered into the Yankees as Gettysburg, starting a three-day battle that would spell the beginning of the end for the Rebs.

        So, csaaphill, now I know exactly where you’re coming from. I ask again, ya feel played by Trump yet? Still have this warm fuzzy feeling for rich guys?

        • the lysergic monk says:

          Easy there, Evening Bud: Rich guys aren’t the problem. Plenty of us smoke weed and support legalization (and not just for cannabis). And you’ll find a lot of poor guys against legalization.

          It’s not the money, it’s the stupidity. And no one demographic owns a monopoly on stupid.

          • Evening Bud says:

            I will agree with you about the stupidity.

            My main beef against “rich guys” is that they’ve bought the government, and, indeed, in many cases ARE the government. And very usually they influence/pass legislation that benefits the rich far more than it does the rest of us. That’s called Plutocracy, not Democracy.

            There are “good” rich guys, I know. But too many of them are greedy and care only about themselves; and that’s well and good except when they influence/pass legislation that benefits themselves foremost. I’m sure you know that the middle class in this country has been shrinking since the days of Reagan–a true darling of the rich.

            • Julian says:

              @Evening Bud,
              We can always imagine ourselves being less disadvantaged and one day becoming rich through good preparation and opportunity: keep in mind that people who have become rich by immoral and unjust means have something to hide, and therefore more motivation to purchase Congressman in order to make their evil activity and tax fraud “legal.” As the saying goes in Spanish: “Quien nada debe, nada teme.” Meaning if we bare no debt or guilt we have nothing to fear. And as such honest people are less motivated to pay off our legislators because they have less to hide.

              But when we change our definition of wealth from obtaining physical monetary gains to that of sustaining the spiritual wellbeing of a healthy, happy family and community we can choose to support and maintain a relationship with our representatives as a primary cost of liberty and happiness, as we recognize that no freedom exists without our participation.

          • Julian says:

            Soooo… you’re saying you didnt vote for Drumph?

            • Evening Bud says:

              @ Julian,

              Very well said vis a vis the rich.

              I still recall an interview between some US network reporter and a rich guy in Germany, probably was MSNBC or CNN or such. She asked the rich guy if he resented the rich getting taxed so high in Europe.

              He answered, I’m going by memory here, “Not at all.”

              When she asked incredulously, “Why not?!”

              He answered, “It took the rich here in Europe centuries to learn that it is better to be rich in a society where everyone around you is reasonably well off, than to be super rich in a society where everyone around you is poor.”

              He was referring of course to the French Revolution, Russian Revolution and others.

              Americans often like to think of themselves as “exceptional.” Well, one of the things here in America that is disturbingly exceptional is our obsession and drive to work work work, all the time. People in this country are judged, not by how they treat other people, not by kindness or altruism, but instead by how much money they earn or already have. Americans are among the least happy people in the developed world: I think that work/money obsession is linked to that.

        • mexweed says:

          Figuring out names, you learn something. Now 156 years from 1861, confronted with J. B. Sessions… right, it rhymes with Secessions! Jefferson? Jefferson who? Ah, Jefferson Davis! And as Julian points out, “look at Drumphs old ties to organized crime going back to the Gambino crime family or Sessions ties to private prison profit”– ah, Jefferson Davis Secessions was all about $lavery, no? Like pri$on labor $1 an hour today?
          My thcLEAP memory then looked at “Gambino” and I saw “Gambling”– $lave adult-entertainment “win” thrill addicts lured into Ca$h$cenehole palaces to gulph away the family money shafting their children– that’s what drumpfed up the “private” dynasty moneyball now buying political power.

          • Julian says:

            Yup. Remember how Drumph tried to act like he wasn’t ki$$ing Prohibitionist, gambling tycoon money laundererSledon Adleson’s @$$ during the campaign? How Drumph relished torturing Mitt Romney for doing just that during his Presidential bid… but then look who was sitting RIGHT behind Drumph during his inauguration? Why it’s ol Sheldon Adelson! What a shocker! Front row seats to see all that empty space on the open federal Mall where our Democratic Republic used to be. Yeah but Sheldon didn’t donate to Drumph, did he? Yeah… right…

    4. Anonymous says:

      AG Sessions is denying the FUTURE if he decides to crackdown. He is denial of the future, not just of Americans, but of human beings! Marijuana legalization is wonderful, wonderful thing, it is the FUTURE. Jeff Sessions would stand in the way. Take a stand and say, AG Sessions, step aside, for the FUTURE.

    5. Matt says:

      AG Sessions is denying the FUTURE if he decides to crackdown. He is denial of the future, not just of Americans, but of human beings! Marijuana legalization is wonderful, wonderful thing, it is the FUTURE. Jeff Sessions would stand in the way. Take a stand and say, AG Sessions, step aside, for the FUTURE.

      • Cat Cassie says:

        Sessions supports the private prison industry. And what better way to fill them than with nonviolent cannabis users. Pathetic!! Welcome to trumps America folks.

        • Anonymous says:

          Cat, if I could one-up you, thumb you up, I would. It seems law enforcement is the ONLY thing on Mr..President Trump’s mind. I fear for all the progress we have tirelessly made. I fear for California, I fear for legalization. I fear for Denver and Seattle, I have friends in both places, and we have made so much PROGRESS.

    6. Mike says:

      Do these folks have any idea of the consequences of making this crazy decision, this will set back the regulatory structure that legalization is made up of, by doing this it will send all of the cannabis back to the black market….. great, all of the work that the industry has done to bring cannabis out of the black market will be diminished by this ill gotten decision, it ain’t going away…

      • Julian says:

        When we do our research and look at Drumphs old ties to organized crime going back to the Gambino crime family or Sessions ties to private prison profit its not that surprising is it? If only people stopped watching cable “news” and spent half as much time researching the people they vote for (IF they vote) as they do looking for the perfect restaurant on Yelp they wouldnt be trying to deport the cooks and farmers who feed them.
        The only thing that surprises me is the Trump supporters that couldnt see a Trump campaign that began by blaming “Mexicans” for “bringing their rapists” as another repeat propaganda for prohibition from the playbook of Harry Anslinger. Evidence that fear and anger will always cloud historical context and clinical judgement… and evidence!
        An even bigger surprise would be if Trump supporters could now swallow their YUGE egos, insecurities and false pride and finally accept they let this happen. Then PERHAPS we could all work together to sway Congress into action. Its just an Act! Click away…

    7. Jeshua Lacock says:

      I think the good news is that the industry has become so big, it seems nearly impossible for the federal government to have adequate resources to fight it effectively. Hell, each year a total shutdown comes down to the last minute so its not like there is a surplus of funds or anything close.

      • Mark Mitcham says:

        I think the point you may be missing is that marijuana prohibition, and the Drug War in general, is self-funding via forfeitures.

        This is what makes forfeiture — I mean theft — so profitable. Why bother to earn money when you can just steal it?

        So, a ramped-up drug war is going to make money for the prohibitionists, not cost them money. It’s called “War Profiteering.”

        And, it enriches the illegal drug cartels as well, creating a vicious circle, with us marijuana consumers paying for the whole thing with our lives and liberties.

    8. Old Toker says:

      Much like when the gun nuts stockpiled weapons when they were sure President Obama was coming for their guns, it’s time to stockpile weed for when Trump outlaws and enforces Federal law on Marijuana. He couldn’t give a shit about states rights.

    9. Old Toker says:

      I can’t believe “Spicer the troll” drew a connection between marijuana use and opioid abuse. Harry Anslinger would be proud

    10. Fred says:

      I am a Trump supporter for most everything. However if he backs out on this States rights issue I will do everything I can to get him impeached and thrown out. Session too. Leave the States Alone! Follow the Science on Marijuana. Schedule II or even Schedule III!

      • Julian says:

        Better yet, deschedule. For now, the focus is on HR975. Green Act! Tab. It takes a real man (or woman) to admit the person they voted for was not who they perceived them to be. Help other Trump supporters see the states rights brother.

      • Logic says:

        I’m sorry this is what brought you to that conclusion. I think it would be best you stay on the side you chose. We don’t need your help to get this imbecile impeached. In fact go fuck yourself!

      • Science H. Logic says:

        I’m sorry it took you this long to come to that conclusion. I think it would be best to stay on the side you chose. We don’t need your help in this fight. Impeaching this imbecile is now going to be much harder because of your amazing voting ability. Do me a favor, wipe the spite off your face first before rationalizing.

      • Mark Mitcham says:

        @ Fred,
        Thank you! Thank you for, not only admitting Trump betrayed his pro-pot voters, but thank you for TURNING ON HIM!

      • Anonymous says:

        I can appreciate that Fred.. and voting for Hillary was the hardest vote I ever cast… But the problem isn’t Trump and Sessions,, getting rid of either one of them before 2020, would only consolidate prohibition. Trump has to play to his base just like Hillary would have had to play to hers.. Hillary wasn’t personally for it,, all her adult life her and Bill tried to distance themselves as far from 60’s counterculture as they could…. If Trump hadn’t run for President in the first place.. People in the legal states would, as we now speak, be buying “Trump Awesomely Great Marijuana” wherever fine is sold.. But the majority of Democrat voters now favor some degree of legalization, and their elected reps can no longer ignore that,, most would if they could. The majority of Republicans,, just the opposite… exceptions ,, yeah plenty. But Republicans are smart enough not to piss off Evangelicals, Law Enforcement, Career Military voters to appease a few libertarians who aren’t going to vote Democrat anyway..
        In short with the Democrats,, Rec in blue, Med in Swing, Decrim in red, ( if for no other reason than tourism ). People aren’t going to buy weed at Trump casino in Nevada and then have their car forfeited on vacation in Texas..
        With Republicans in control of White House, both houses of Congress and the Courts.. Who knows.. The best we can hope is to not lose too much ground in 4 years,,
        I know it’s hard for someone who has legitimate reasons to vote Republican to hear,, But Legalization isn’t happening while the Republicans are in power, Not at least for another generation, remember it took almost 50 years to get the Democrats where they are today.. time I don’t have at 55.

      • Anonymous says:

        It’s not Trump and Sessions, it’s the Republican Party.. Any other Republican President would do just like Trump on this Issue…
        Again,, make a choice,, Republicans or Weed. I’ll respect whatever choice you make,, but make a choice. You can’t have both.

        • Mark Mitcham says:

          That’s exactly right. Trump is the tool that Republican guru Grover Norquist was talking about when he once said:

          “Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the United States.”

          According to Norquist:
          “All we have to do is replace Obama. … We are not auditioning for fearless leader. We don’t need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go. We want the Ryan budget. … We just need a president to sign this stuff. We don’t need someone to think it up or design it. The leadership now for the modern conservative movement for the next 20 years will be coming out of the House and the Senate. […]”

          From this perspective, Trump represents Republicans perfectly: worthless, lying, criminal, racist, cowardly, spineless, dishonorable, sexist, bigoted pieces of dog shit on the bottom of Uncle Sam’s shoes.

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