Article by Sam Kamin, Washington Post
Nov. 8 was both the best of nights and the worst of nights for marijuana law reformers. That night, four states approved medical marijuana laws and another four voted to legalize marijuana use for all adults. But for many advocates, Donald Trump’s election served a substantial blow to law reform.
With Trump’s appointment of Jeff Sessions — one of the nation’s most outspoken anti-drug warriors — as attorney general, it seems the long-simmering tension between state marijuana law reform and federal prohibition is headed for a full-blown confrontation. It’s not surprising, then, that White House press secretary Sean Spicer attracted enormous attention last week when he appeared to presage a federal crackdown on marijuana law reform in the states — which would reverse the lax policy on marijuana set by the Obama administration.
Spicer’s comments are a perfect encapsulation of both the complicated state of marijuana law in the United States and the frenetic first weeks of the Trump administration. He stated that while the president is sympathetic toward those who use marijuana for serious ailments, the recreational use of cannabis is a different issue deserving of federal attention. As a matter of federal law, this distinction between medical and recreational use of marijuana is nonsensical.