Press Secretary Sean Spicer threw cannabis advocates for a loop over his suggestion that the Justice Department is not on board with adult-use cannabis in the same way that it accepts, somewhat, the therapeutic uses of the plant for some ailments.
“There’s a big difference between (medical marijuana) and recreational marijuana, and 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 is encouraging people,” Spicer said in the press room late February. “There is still a federal law that we need to abide by regarding recreational marijuana and other drugs of that nature,” Spicer continues.
The part of Spicers’ speech that many cannabis advocates zeroed in on was “greater enforcement, ” and the exact meaning of that in regards to the recreational use laws is unknown.
What does Attorney General Jeff Sessions have to say? “I am dubious about marijuana. … I’m not sure we’re going to be a better, healthier nation if we have marijuana sold at every corner grocery store,” he said in a speech at the winter meeting of the National Association of Attorneys General.
Upon his inauguration, President Donald Trump nominated Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, a vocal opponent of marijuana legalization, as the nation’s attorney general. His now-famous quote, that “Good people don’t smoke marijuana,” raised questions about the direction the Department of Justice would take regarding the 2013 Cole Memo, which are the established guidelines for federal prosecution over U.S. marijuana laws.
Here’s what advocates, doctors, patients, and pot entrepreneurs want Donald Trump to know about the legal cannabis industry before he stamps out marijuana legalization.
- Legalizing marijuana reduces the criminal activity
Don’t want drug cartels and gangs running a black market marijuana industry? Then bringing it out in the open where it can be regulated, taxed, and put under the same scrutiny as alcohol, tobacco, and pornography.
- Marijuana is safer in places where it is legalized and tested
Having cannabis tested, labeled, and packaged in childproof containers is much safer than pot bought from unknown sources who are growing it in illegal spaces.
- Marijuana can help reduce opiate use
Cannabis has fewer side effects than prescription opioids and is addictive by only about 7 percent. If you want to address the rampant, and to grow, opioid epidemic in the United Stated, banishing the herb is not the way to go. Marijuana is not a killer drug. We have fewer cannabinoid receptors around our brain than we do opioid receptors. That means if a person overdoes it on cannabis, they’ll feel sick but will not die. Do the same thing with an opioid and the overdose could be fatal.
- Taxing marijuana already produces hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue
The revenue from Colorado alone goes toward all kinds of state and local projects. Want to lower the United States deficit? Then making recreational pot illegal in the states where it is already legal is a step in the wrong direction.
- The marijuana industry could create more jobs than manufacturing by 2020
Want to maintain your promise to create more jobs? Then keep the cannabis legalization measures rolling out. Right now, more than 100,000 have jobs because of the Green Rush, and the cash crop is Washington State’s 3rd largest.
In the past week, Sessions has become embroiled in scandals. He has had to recuse himself from ongoing Russia investigations and many senators, congressman and legislators are calling for his resignation. In the best interests of the cannabis industry as a whole, we’re hoping he takes their advice!