Sean Spicer provides first comments on Marijuana, shockwaves ensue

There’s a big difference between that (medical marijuana) and recreational marijuana, and I think when you see something like the opioid addiction crisis blossoming in so many states around this country, the last thing we should be doing is encouraging people.

In the daily White House Press Briefing today, Sean Spicer provided the first glimpse into how the administration will handle the enforcement of marijuana laws. The comments sent immediate shockwaves through the industry, with the Marijuana Policy Project providing an instantaneous press release denouncing the comments.

It seems clear from Spicer’s comments that the administration will not take significant action in states where medical marijuana has been legalized. However, he repeatedly differentiated between medical and recreational marijuana, and indicated that the Department of Justice would be looking further into the recreational market.

I do believe that you’ll see greater enforcement of it (recreational marijuana)

Our Take: Even though medical marijuana shops may be breathing a sigh of relief right now, this is very bad news for the recreational cannabis industry. It appears there will be a sea change here, and any possibility of a memo similar to the Cole Memo that includes recreational cannabis is all but dead. This will be extremely disheartening to anybody involved in the recreational industry. Recreational businesses should prepare for the worst here, and make sure they’re fully in compliance with all state laws at a minimum.

It seems like a crazy fight for the administration to pick against an industry that is increasingly organized and has public opinion on its side. Just today, Quinnipiac University released a poll saying that that 71% of voters think that “The government should not enforce federal laws against marijuana in states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana use”. With all of the other priorities facing the nation right now, it’s baffling to see this rise on the priority list.

It’s now up to Congress to change the laws regarding recreational marijuana because it’s clear this administration plans on enforcing the current prohibition of marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug. The Congressional Cannabis Caucus couldn’t have had better timing.

See a clip of Spicer’s comments here


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