As President Trump’s first budget proposal, the Republican Party is attempting to strip away states’ rights to legalize marijuana. While the House amendment was broad enough to expand protections for state marijuana programs, the Senate failed to follow suit, and that change was also excluded from the fiscal year 2020 bill. While President Trump has been inconsistent on the issue of states’ rights, this budget proposal does more than just strip states of their legal marijuana. The new federal drug policy would end protections for state medical marijuana programs, and legalization in Washington, DC.
In a letter to the Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, the governors of the first four states to legalize marijuana sales urged the Trump Administration to protect their existing policies. The governors also requested an opportunity to meet with Administration officials. They are not alone in their opposition to the Trump administration’s budget. Indeed, the issue of cannabis legalization is one of the most controversial in American history.
While the House hasn’t yet considered the fiscal year 2021 appropriations bill, it has already cleared the amendment for floor action. Meanwhile, the House Rules Committee is refusing to order anti-cannabis amendments. The anti-cannabis amendments would strip federal money from states that allow edible cannabis or don’t have THC impaired driving education programs. But while many are upset about the anti-cannabis amendments in the Senate, they are nevertheless necessary to protect the rights of states to medical marijuana programs.
However, the House Appropriations Committee’s vote last week on the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment is unlikely to become law. The Senate didn’t pass a similar amendment two years ago. Yet, polls suggest that marijuana has broad support among voters, even if the amendment does not become law. But this is an important step in protecting states’ rights to medical marijuana programs. This is a step in the right direction for the industry.
In addition to this, Sessions’ anti-pot move will allow federal prosecutors to determine whether state marijuana laws conflict with federal law. That could lead to a huge number of drug-related prosecutions in the future. If Congress fails to do this, marijuana-loving voters may be less likely to vote for him in 2020 or 2018.
However, the Republican Party’s stance on legalizing marijuana is not surprising. Marijuana is generally popular among libertarian-leaning Republicans, which is why some conservatives believed Trump was pro-marijuana. But according to economic historian Jeffrey Miron, legalization of marijuana could actually increase the number of people who want to use it. That’s why legalization is necessary, but only after the law is enforced.
The initiative would also restrict the number of plants a person can grow in a household. However, it would allow municipalities to zone certain areas for marijuana businesses. Such businesses would not be public spaces and would weed seeds amazon be subject to the same public consumption ban. A person could only have up to twelve plants in a household. In addition, a landlord wouldn’t be allowed to ban cannabis-infused edibles and candy in attractive packaging.
The federal government is also targeting marijuana-legalization efforts in states. While the Trump administration has generally supported states’ rights, it has acted inconsistently. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has railed against California for its “sanctuary” policies, read full report which shield undocumented immigrants from deportation. Further, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has fought coastal states over drilling for oil, while Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has shielded private companies from abuse through the federal government.
The Commerce Clause is responsible for the current prohibition on marijuana, which stems from the Supreme Court’s expansive interpretation of Article I. The Court in Wickard v. Filburn ruled that Congress could regulate wheat, but not marijuana. It also ruled that Congress could regulate the sale of wheat for noncommercial purposes. And that’s why states are increasingly asserting their rights to marijuana. This means that the federal government can’t compel states to adopt its marijuana prohibition.