White House hints at coming crackdown on recreational marijuana

White House hints at coming crackdown on recreational marijuana
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

White House press secretary Sean Spicer suggested Thursday the federal government could crack down on recreational marijuana use across the country, even in states that have legalized the drug.

Spicer's comments during the daily White House press briefing came in response to a question from a local Arkansas reporter, who asked whether President Donald Trump was OK with Arkansas' medical marijuana law, rules for which were recently approved by the state's Medical Marijuana Commission.

Spicer said Trump approves of medical marijuana use — which could help provide relief to the chronically ill — as opposed to recreational use, which Spicer suggested was tied to the opioid crisis many states are currently facing.

"There is still a federal law that we need to abide by ... when it comes to recreational marijuana and other drugs of that nature," Spicer said.

Currently, the federal government still considers marijuana an illegal drug

Under former President Barack Obama, the Department of Justice did not crack down on states that legalized recreational marijuana use, including Alaska, Colorado, Massachusetts, Oregon and Washington.

But Spicer suggested the Justice Department will no longer turn a blind eye to those states, saying it would be "taking action" against them.

Spicer's suggestion that the federal government would crack down on states with legalized weed was completely at odds to his comments earlier in the briefing — in which he said federal guidance telling states to allow transgender students to use bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity was a violation of states' rights. 

"If a state wants to pass a law or a rule, or if an organization wants to do something in compliance with a state rule, that's their right," Spicer said about transgender bathroom use. "But it shouldn't be the federal government getting in the way of this." 

To recap, the Trump administration thinks transgender rights — but not recreational marijuana use — should be left up to the states.

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Emily C. Singer

Emily C. Singer, née Cahn, is a senior writer for Mic covering politics. She is based in New York and can be reached at esinger@mic.com

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