- Spokesman for White House Sean Spicer talks about a new crackdown on recreational cannabis
- Trump pledged to respect states’ rights on marijuana during his campaign. This may signal a reversal on that promise.
- Seven US States have legalised cannabis for recreational use
- Cannabis is still illegal under Federal Law
Sean Spicer, Donald Trump’s Press Secretary, finally revealed the new President’s intention for recreational cannabis, and it’s not good.
Spicer seems to have hinted that the Trump administration will be aiming to crack down on the 8 States whose citizens democratically voted to legalise cannabis for recreational use.
In a White House press conference, Spicer told the audience that while the President understand that medicinal cannabis eases “the pain and suffering in some people” with terminal illnesses, recreational cannabis is a “very, very different subject.”
Seeming to forget that his own Government had recently admitted that the gate-way theory was an ‘alternative fact’, Spicer equated America’s serious opioid drug crisis with recreational cannabis.
Spicer, referencing the “blossoming” opioid addiction crisis, claimed “the last thing we should be doing is encouraging people. There’s a federal law that we need to abide by when it comes to recreational marijuana and other drugs of that nature.”
The ill-informed Press Secretary actually has the situation exactly the wrong-way round (no surprises there).
“I do believe you’ll see greater enforcement of it” – Sean Spicer
There is very little evidence, if any, linking cannabis use to the opioid crisis. In fact, there’s a growing body of research which suggests that States which have decriminalised cannabis for medicinal use have lower rates of opioid abuse and fewer opioid-related fatalities.
A recent study of 18 States from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health found that those with medical marijuana laws experienced a reduction in opioid involvement in fatal car accidents.
The conclusion of the study was clear: “In states with medical marijuana laws, fewer individuals are using opioids.”
So, what exactly does Spicer mean when he said he doesn’t want to encourage people to use opioids by legalising cannabis for recreational purposes? If he genuinely wanted to help ease the crisis then he would surely be working to bring about cannabis for more people, not less, by introducing a “greater enforcement” of Federal cannabis laws.
America is indeed in the middle of a very serious opioid drug addiction problem. In 2015, more than 33,000 people died from overdoses of opioids, meaning prescription painkillers, heroin, fentanyl or any combination. But, going off the evidence, clamping down on recreational cannabis will have the exact opposite effect (if the Trump administration actually wanted to ease the crisis).
The move may not be in the best interest of the Trump administration, as the move to tread on individual State autonomy and spit in the face of democratic voters could end up alienating his base support.
Cannabis activists, like Tom Angell of Marijuana Majority, expressed concern about the move, highlighting its hypocritical nature: “If the administration is looking for ways to become less popular, cracking down on voter-approved marijuana laws would be a great way to do it.”
Speaking to VICE, Angell continued: “On the campaign trail, President Trump clearly and repeatedly pledged that he would leave decisions on cannabis policy to the states. With a clear and growing majority of the country now supporting legalization, reneging on his promises would be a political disaster and huge distraction from the rest of the president’s agenda.”
Under Federal law, cannabis is still illegal, both medicinal and recreational. However, it has been legalised for recreational use in eight states, including Colorado, California and Washington.
@straincentral reacted with a response which reminds us all that Weed was already federally illegal in the US:
A Note from the author:
The recreational cannabis industry is one of the fastest growing markets in the world. Last year alone, legal sales reached $7 billion and generated half a billion dollars in sales taxes. What could possibly motivate Trump to deny the American people half a billion in taxes? Was it perhaps his secret meeting with Big Pharma execs a few weeks ago? We can only speculate for now, but it is baffling to hear a business man making policies which would destroy one of the most successful markets in the world.
Written by Miles Casey