Obama is Urging Trump to Decriminalize Marijuana Now
President Obama has zero plans to decriminalize or legalize marijuana before the end of his term, but that didn’t stop him from urging president-elect Trump to do so when interviewed by Rolling Stone. Obama told the publication that marijuana should be regulated just as alcohol and cigarettes are. He also insinuated that a majority of those that voted for Trump also supported marijuana initiatives.
President Obama’s History Regarding Marijuana Legalization
During the Obama administration’s time in office, it did not stand in the way of states’ rights and their rights to regulate marijuana by voter or legislative approval. His administration has taken a “hands-off approach” to marijuana legalization and has stopped the DEA from raiding legally operating marijuana dispensaries and retail stores in states where it has been legalized.
Deputy Attorney General James Cole issued a memo stating that the Justice Department would not interfere with legal marijuana businesses.
Following Colorado’s recreational legalization of marijuana, President Obama said in a 2015 YouTube conversation, that, “What you’re seeing now is Colorado, Washington through state referenda, they’re experimenting with legal marijuana. The position of my administration has been that we still have federal laws that classify marijuana as an illegal substance, but we’re not going to spend a lot of resources trying to turn back decisions that have been made at the state level on this issue. My suspicion is that you’re gonna see other states start looking at this.”
Obama’s advice to Trump: Decriminalize now, your supporters also support legal marijuana
Potential Turmoil under Jeff Sessions
The marijuana industry is in disarray upon the appointing of Jeff Sessions as the new U.S. Attorney General. Why is the industry in such an uproar? It’s quite simple really – Sessions is adamantly against marijuana.
What needs to happen to protect states’ rights is that president-elect Trump has to put a very short leash on AG Sessions. If Sessions had it his way, marijuana would remain illegal and states wouldn’t have the opportunity to make their own decisions.
More Anti-Marijuana Cabinet Members
Sessions isn’t the only anti-marijuana member of Trump’s Cabinet. Tom Price, a republican from Georgia, is Trump’s pick for Health and Human Services secretary as reported by The Washington Post. Why is this a big deal? Price is also adamantly against marijuana legalization. He has a long history of voting against marijuana policy reform attempts.
Price voted against:
- Preventing the Justice Department from interfering with state adopted recreational marijuana laws
- Six times against preventing the Justice Department from interfering with state adopted medical marijuana laws
- Three times against allowing VA doctors to recommend medical marijuana to veteran
NORML and Drug Policy Action both gave Price the grade of “D” for his position on marijuana policy.
Reminder of Trump’s Stance
This is a good time to remind the American people that Donald Trump has stated several times that he does not intend to get in the way of states’ rights, including their choice to legalize marijuana within their borders. No commentary has been offered regarding the amount of power these new cabinet members will have regarding the topic, but as it’s been stated and recorded, Trump doesn’t plan to mess with state decisions on marijuana.
Some Closing Thoughts on the Issue
Yes, this is quite concerning to the American people who are looking for marijuana prohibition to end at the federal level. Is this new information cause for concern? Maybe, but my honest opinion is that people are putting the cart before the horse. Trump hasn’t even taken office yet and has a history of backing his word. Regardless of what stance you take politically, Obama’s advice should hold some weight with Trump even though they are from opposing parties.
What do you think is going to happen with ending prohibition? Do you think that each individual state is going to legalize separately or is Trump going to feel pressure from the American people to decriminalize/reschedule/legalize?