It was a heavy news week at the White House, but little on the Green Rush front until Press Secretary Sean Spicer threw cannabis advocates for a loop over his suggestion that the Justice Department could target adult-use marijuana programs.
Reactions over social media and news outlets poured in from entrepreneurs, CEOs of cannabis organizations, advocates, and lawmakers primed themselves for a fight.
The seriousness of Spicers’ words—namely, the meaning of “greater enforcement”—and the reality of the threat is still unclear, leaving much doubt about whether adult use legalization in the eight states in which it exists is a bell that can be unrung. White House spokesman Sean Spicer did not elaborate clearly on his words Thursday.
On the medical front, Spicer said that the president understood that patients suffering from certain diseases experienced relief from medical marijuana. “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. Was this a glimpse of the administration’s new (or possibly changing) views on the growing legal cannabis industry? Trump was never steady on the marijuana legalization issue but has said in the past that he favors states’ rights and would not interfere even with legal recreational use states such as Colorado. “There is still a federal law that we need to abide by regarding recreational marijuana and other drugs of that nature,” Spicer continues in his comments, still without issuing directives on where the White House will take this.
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.