White House

In today’s White House press briefing, Press Secretary Sean Spicer indicated that the federal government will crack down on recreational marijuana. “I do believe you will see greater enforcement,” he stated.

Ever since the election of Donald Trump in November, the cannabis industry has been awaiting clues from the White House about how it will deal with legal marijuana, both recreational and medical. From Spicer’s comments, it now appears the medical may be safe, but adult-use could be in the crosshairs.

“There’s a big difference between that and recreational marijuana,” Spicer went on when prodded by reporters. “I think when you see something like the opioid addiction crisis blossoming in so many states around this country, the last thing we should be doing encouraging people. There is still a federal law that we need to abide by when it comes to recreational marijuana and other drugs of that nature.

“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.”

As far as when a crackdown on adult use in the four current legal states might begin, Spicer deferred to the Justice Department, which is now being headed by longtime prohibitionist Jeff Sessions. “There’s a big difference between the medical use,” Spicer repeated, “which Congress has, through an appropriations rider in 2014, made very clear what their intent was on how the Department of Justice would handle that issue. That’s very different from recreational use, which is something the Department of Justice will be further looking into.

Spicer was referring to the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, which prevents the Department of Justice from using federal funds to interfere with medical marijuana in states where its legal. The amendment, which now is known as Rohrabacher-Blumenauer, was reapproved in 2015. It expires on Apr. 28.

The Trump Administration’s stance on recreational marijuana does not keep in line with the views of the country as a whole. A new Quinnipiac poll found that more than 70% of Americans would oppose a federal crackdown on marijuana.

Similarly, the idea that recreational marijuana is in any way related to the opioid epidemic is also unrealistic, given that recent research shows that legal marijuana reduces opioid overdoses.

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