There’s been some disturbing news from the White House recently in the last couple weeks, having to do with how the federal government will dictate its policy against both medical marijuana and recreational marijuana. It seems the Trump administration is shifting towards cracking down on marijuana even in states where it’s legal. This was one of the worries when Trump nominated Jeff Sessions to be attorney general, a man who is known for his disdain for legalizing marijuana. Ironically, Sessions is a big supporter of “states rights” arguments. But now he seems to be wanting to use the federal government against states that have even legalized marijuana. The Chicago Tribunes’ Jennifer Kaplan and Polly Mosendz reported that the cannabis industry is unsurprisingly upset at this seeming shift in policy. “Today’s news coming out of the administration regarding the adult use of cannabis is, of course, disappointing,” Derek Peterson, CEO of marijuana cultivator Terra Tech Corp., said Thursday in a statement. “We have hoped and still hope that the federal government will respect state’s rights in the same manner they have on several other issues.” Will they eventually be able to reconcile these seemingly contradictory policy stances.
As the Chicago Tribune notes, public policy is sided against Trumps’ stance with respect to this issue and they cite Quinnipiac’s poll that showed 71% of voters think the government shouldn’t enforce laws against marijuana in states where it is legal and 59% voted that it should just be legal outright. The people want this and the shift may undo the slow and steady progress the country has made in drug policy the last decade or so. If marijuana is this stigmatized than how can any progress be made towards prison reform and helping users instead of punishing them? Robert Capecci, the director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project points out this hypocrisy, “To have Mr. Spicer say in one sentence that they’re a state’s rights’ administration and in the very next sentence say they’re going to crack down … it just defies logic.”