6 March 2017

The LA Times writes….

Extract.. Full Article At


White House spokesman Sean Spicer addressed the issue at a Feb. 23 press briefing, but he delivered a jumble of ambiguities, misconceptions and misstatements that left doubt about whether the Trump administration has a policy and if so what it is, and whether it understands much about the legal and public health issues.

Spicer made a distinction between medical and recreational use of marijuana, implying that the legalizing states regulate the former rigorously and the latter sloppily. It’s hard to know where he got that impression, given that legalized medical marijuana flowed virtually unimpeded into the recreational market in many states (including California), and those that have legalized recreational use have strived to create a workable regulatory system to standardize drug quality and keep it out of the hands of children.

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Spicer linked marijuana use to the opiate crisis: “When you see something like the opiate addiction crisis blossoming in so many states around this country, the last thing that we should be doing is encouraging people.” That made many addiction experts cringe, since there’s no evidence that marijuana use leads to opiate abuse, and emerging evidence indicates that opiate abuse is, if anything, lower in states that have legalized marijuana.

The press secretary left a muddled impression of what the Department of Justice actually will do. “There is still a federal law that we need to abide by,” Spicer said. He referred further questions to the DOJ, but said he believed “you’ll see greater enforcement” of the law against recreational use and that that’s something “the Department of Justice will be further looking into.”

There isn’t much question that the government could destroy the legal cannabis industry if it wished, says drug policy expert Mark A.R. Kleiman of New York University. U.S. attorneys could examine license applications from pot businesses in legalization states and obtain injunctions against the applicants in federal court, charging them with contempt if they flouted the injunctions.