While he was running for president of the United States, Donald J. Trump said that states should be left to determine the legality of smoking pot.
Now that he is the president of the United States, Trump seems to be saying something else. Or, at least he’s allowing the attorney general to say it for him. AG Jeff Sessions has repealed relaxation of federal prosecution of marijuana laws. He has sicced federal prosecutors loose on those who are accused of smoking pot illegally.
Now comes a question: Which is it, do states’ right prevail on this matter or is this a matter where federal policy overrides them?
California has just legalized the sale of “recreational marijuana,” joining several other states and the District of Columbia in this initiative.
The AG is having none of it.
But to whom does the attorney general answer? Let’s see. It’s the president. And this president is on record saying that states should be left to set marijuana-use rules and laws.
Didn’t he say that? Didn’t he mean it? Wasn’t he speaking from his gut, or his heart, or did he make it up as a throwaway line?
The order Sessions rescinded, of course, came from President Barack H. Obama’s Department of Justice. DOJ said in 2013 it wouldn’t concern itself with marijuana court fights in states where its use is legal. Sessions is taking another attitude altogether.
However, is he speaking for the department he runs or for the president of the United States — or both! If so, has the president changed his mind?