A letter from Attorney General Jeff Sessions to legislators shows the Trump administration may take an aggressive role in enforcing federal marijuana laws, including interfering with states where the plant has already been legalized.
In a May 1 letter to lawmakers concerning Department of Justice appropriations obtained by MassRoots.com, Sessions opposed the restriction of funds the DoJ might use to enforce the Controlled Substances Act.
“I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime,” Sessions wrote. “The Department must be in a position to use all laws available to combat the transnational drug organizations and dangerous drug traffickers who threaten American lives.”
States where the cultivation or distribution of marijuana has been legalized are also contributing to the rise of drug traffickers, the attorney general argued, highlighting one case in Colorado where a licensed marijuana business was caught shipping marijuana out of state.
Furthermore, “Smoking marijuana, in addition, has negative health effects,” Sessions noted.
“According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana use is linked to an increased risk of psychiatric disorders such as psychosis, respiratory ailments such as lung infections, cognitive impairments such as IQ loss, and substance use disorder and addiction.”
On the adverse health effects of marijuana, Sessions continued, “One recent study conducted in part by researchers at Duke University showed, for example that people who started smoking marijuana frequently in their teens lost an average of eight IQ points by middle age.”
“It is thus unsurprising that in the last administration both the Department of Health and Human Services and the DEA concluded that “marijuana has a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.”
As noted by MassRoots, President Trump during the 2016 election campaign vowed to favor states rights when it came to marijuana, at one time saying he supported medical marijuana “100 percent.”
In 1990, Trump was also quoted as labeling the federal government’s war on drugs “a joke.”
“We’re losing badly the war on drugs,” Trump said, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. “You have to legalize drugs to win that war. You have to take the profit away from these drug czars.”
Sessions, however, has maintained an anti-marijuana stance, telling reporters in February, “I’m definitely not a fan of expanded use of marijuana.”
“States they can pass the laws they choose. I would just say it does remain a violation of federal law to distribute marijuana throughout any place in the United States, whether a state legalizes it or not,” Sessions said.
“Good people don’t smoke marijuana,” the former Alabama senator also stated in April 2016.
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