News & Politics

Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em

(AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

It doesn’t really matter whether you think marijuana is less harmful than alcohol. Nor does it matter what California and seven other states think about making it freely available with a “prescription” or just for “recreation.” What matters is what federal law says — and what it says is: you’re wrong. So it’s about time this is happening:

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Thursday that he expects to see “greater enforcement” of federal drug laws under President Trump’s Justice Department in states that have legalized recreational marijuana.

During a White House press briefing, Spicer was asked what the Trump administration’s policy would be on states that have legalized marijuana, placing them in conflict with federal law, where marijuana remains a Schedule I drug. Under President Obama, the Justice Department issued a memo in 2013 instructing U.S. Attorneys to take a mostly hands-off approach to recreational and medical marijuana in states that had legalized it.

“Well I think that’s a question for the Department of Justice,” Spicer replied. “I do believe you’ll see greater enforcement of it. Because again there’s a big difference between the medical use … that’s very different than the recreational use, which is something the Department of Justice will be further looking into.”

Potheads argue that a) marijuana isn’t addictive, the way alcohol is for some, and b) nobody is harmed by its use. To which I say: so what? High is high when you’re behind the wheel, as these states are now learning the hard way. Further, if there’s a more useless group of people than potheads after they tuck in for an evening’s recreation, I have yet to meet them; maryjane dulls the senses and renders its users stupid. Has a single great work of art been created in a haze of weed? Doubtful — but a lot of pizzas have been sold.

Marijuana legalization advocates condemned the the comments, which appear to backtrack from Trump’s statements on the campaign trail that marijuana legalization was a state issue.

“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,” Tom Angell, the chairman of Marijuana Majority, said in a statement. “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.”

Like illegal immigration and “sanctuary cities,” this is currently a matter for the feds, not for the states. Nor is this like Prohibition, which turned out to be such a social and moral disaster that it was quickly repealed barely more than a decade after the Noble Experiment was mandated by constitutional amendment. If the big brave libertarians who advocate for pot think the analogy to Prohibition is valid, then let them do what ordinary folks (and, later, states) did in the Roaring Twenties: ignore the law, run the risk of arrest, and let the feds enforce it rather than the local cops. But they don’t have the guts.