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DOJ Pot Rule: Back to the Dark Ages

Just days after voters in California voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, Trump's attorney general announced that an Obama policy of federal non-interference in such states would be rescinded and that pot users and distributors are subject to prosecution under federal law.

That decision immediately set off a wave of opposition from lawmakers in both parties who support either medical or recreational use of marijuana or both, and prompted concern that federal enforcement would mean that those who use pot to alleviate pain would be forced to turn to opioids, on which the federal government has declared war.

While several states have legalized marijuana, possession, use and distribution of the drug remains illegal under federal law. The Obama-era ruling essentially meant the feds would not interfere with pot usage in those states except in the most egregious cases.

Ironically, it was President Trump who with much fanfare recently announced a war against the opioid crisis, which is claiming increasing numbers of lives. Yet, now there are concerns that new prosecutions over marijuana could divert resources from combating the opioid epidemic.

Of course, it is also the Republicans and Trump who are stalwart supporters of states' rights and are constantly saying it should be up to the states to handle this or that problem, including health care. And Trump, during the 2016 presidential campaign, said the question of pot legalization should be "left up to the states."

Now, a freshman GOP senator, Cory Gardner of Colorado, where pot use is legal, plans to block all Trump nominees for Justice Department positions and is pushing a bill to protect marijuana sales in states where they are legal. Other lawmakers are livid over the ruling's infringement on the right of states to make their own decisions.

"Today's decision announced by the Department of Justice is a direct violation of states' rights," said U.S. Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, where recreational marijuana use is legal.

All of this simply demonstrates the hypocrisy of the Trump administration. They are committed to states' rights, but not when it comes to pot. They've declared the opioid crisis a national emergency, but appropriated no funds and now refuse to allow marijuana as a safe substitute for these dangerous drugs.

Once again, Trump is picking off another Obama era policy to send to the trash heap -- regardless of the impact. Just another reason to rise up, to resist, and to remember when November's Congressional elections roll around.

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