On Wednesday August 29th, 2018, BuzzFeed News reported that the Trump administration had tasked a multi-agency committee with pushing back against pro-cannabis legislation and messaging. The Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee has sought the aid of 14 federal agencies and the Drug Enforcement Administration in revealing “data demonstrating the most significant negative trends” regarding cannabis legalization.
A meeting summary obtained by BuzzFeed read, “Staff believe that if the administration is to turn the tide on increasing marijuana use there is an urgent need to message the facts about the negative impacts of marijuana use, production, and trafficking on national health, safety, and security.”
A Pattern of Anti-Cannabis Bias
The Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee is a manifestation of the fears many in the pro-cannabis community have had regarding President Trump and his administration since he took office in early 2017. Trump has stated multiple occasions that his preference is to leave cannabis legislation to the states. As recently as June of 2018, Trump stated, “I probably will end up supporting that, yes,” in regards to bipartisan legislation proposed by Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) that would have “ensured that each state has the right to determine for itself the best approach to marijuana within its borders.”
Though through his words, Trump himself has expressed his support for states determining their own cannabis laws, his actions have spoken much louder. As well as establishing the Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee, Trump appointed notorious anti-cannabis propagandist Jeff Sessions as his Attorney General.
Sessions Is a Key Figure In American Cannabis Legislation
According to one lawyer, Sessions once said he thought the Ku Klux Klan were “OK until I found out they smoked pot.” Though Sessions said that he made the comment as a joke, his time as Attorney General has reflected his biases. In January, Sessions sent a memo to all U.S. attorneys directing them to disregard the Obama-era Cole memo which protected state’s rights and allowed them to determine their own cannabis laws.
Disregarding the Cole memo allows the Justice Department, under the direction of Sessions, to pursue and prosecute criminal cannabis cases in states where cannabis has been legalized. Sessions’ direction permits the federal government to invade on the legal privacy of cannabis users and cannabis businesses who were previously guaranteed protection. What his policies really do is perpetuate a cannabis war that has gone on for far too long in America.
Though many viewed Trump’s initially ambiguous cannabis policies as hope for legal freedom, the appointment of Sessions as Attorney General and the establishment of the Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee prove that his administration has other intentions.
Lane is based in Southern California and is a content curator for Medical Marijuana 411. He focuses his research into finding informative stories that can help medical marijuana patients better understand their diverse medicine.