Trump’s Marijuana Dilemma
“We need grown-ups in Washington to say marijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized..”
Senator Jeff Sessions, Trump’s Attorney General Nominee
Both President-Elect Trump and Senator Sessions describe themselves as conservatives with the strong belief that the Federal Government has greatly out-grown the narrow role the Founding Fathers envisioned. The 10th Amendment to the Constitution, one conservatives often quote, says the Federal Government has only the powers enumerated in the Constitution and all others belong to “the people” meaning the states. Libertarians and some conservatives have based their opposition to federal drug policy on the 10th Amendment, noting that Americans in states across the country should decide on legalization issues for themselves.
This idea that Americans can decide drug legalization without guidance from D.C. is apparently one that rubs Senator Sessions the wrong way. Sessions clearly believes that “grown-ups in Washington” like himself know what’s best for the people of California, Maine, Colorado, Arizona, Alaska and Washington State rather than the citizens of those states who’ve approved marijuana legalization. Twenty-nine other states have approved medical marijuana. If this were any other issue, Sessions would be blasting the Feds for sticking its big government nose into areas that are not its concern.
President-Elect Trump is also on record as supporting a state’s right to legalize marijuana. Despite Trump’s stated belief that legalization should be an issue left to the states, his selection of Sessions, who has stated “good people don’t smoke marijuana” has raised some concern that Trump would stand silent as Sessions rolls back marijuana legalization. The vision of Federal law enforcement storming marijuana outlets and arresting American citizens in compliance with state law should give both Trump and Sessions pause.
During his confirmation hearing, real conservatives in the Senate will instruct Sessions to attend to other important matters and leave issues like marijuana legalization to the states where they constitutionally belong.