The appointment of Rudolph Giuliani or Chris Christie as Attorney General of the United State portends a disaster for state-regulated marijuana.
Tuesday’s votes dramatically altered America’s drug policy landscape, at least at the state level. Voters in California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada voted to legalize recreational marijuana. Medical marijuana initiatives in Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota were also approved by voters.
The federal government considers marijuana a class one drug, just like heroin and it is clearly illegal to possess it. An executive action taken by the Obama administration, in 2013, known as the “Cole Memo” allowed individual states to legalize medical or recreational marijuana. This executive action could quickly be overturned by the Trump administration.
Trump’s position on the legalization of marijuana is at best unclear. Recently he indicated that he supported states’ rights regarding regulating medical marijuana, but he has not publicly supported recreational marijuana.
Trump was quoted by the Washington Post as saying, “In terms of marijuana and legalization, I think that should be a state issue, state-by-state. …Marijuana is such a big thing. I think medical should happen — right? Don’t we agree? I think so. And then I really believe we should leave it up to the states.”
In February, Trump told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly that he was “in favor of medical marijuana 100%.” He also said to O’Reilly, “I know people that have serious problems, and they did that they really — it really does help them.”
The euphoria felt as a result of Tuesday’s votes legalizing recreational and medical marijuana is going to dissipate rapidly if Trump taps Chris Christie or Rudy Giuliani as attorney general. Both Christie and Giuliani were mentioned today as potential candidates for that position.
In July 2015, when Chris Christie was a Republican candidate for president, he stated in a Fox and Friends segment, “In a Chris Christie administration, there would be no such thing as legal marijuana use. Marijuana is against the law in the states, and it should be enforced in all 50 states. That’s the law and the Christie administration will support it.”
The same month Christie also discussed marijuana in a town hall meeting in New Hampshire. He said, “If you’re getting high in Colorado today, enjoy it. As of January 2017, I will enforce the federal laws.”
When Rudy Giuliani was New York’s mayor, his administration took a hard-line toward illegal drugs, especially marijuana. Since then he has stated on numerous occasions that he will continue to “arrest, prosecute, and imprison patients who use marijuana.”
Despite Giuliani’s and Christie’s currently stated positions, the potential public outcry may impede their abilities to reverse the current policy allowing state-licensed marijuana businesses. It is easy to speculate that the protest in cities that have legalized marijuana would likely bring out hundred of thousands of protesters. One would think that this is a confrontation the Trump administration would certainly want to avoid. But, then again, nothing should be assumed with Trump.
Want more from Jeffrey Freidland? Check out his site and his book “Marijuana: The World’s Most Misunderstood Plant.”