Roger Stone, a longtime ally of President Trump, is urging the administration to steer clear of a federal crackdown on recreational marijuana.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer suggested Thursday the Trump administration will step up enforcement of federal laws against recreational marijuana, which has been legalized in eight states and the District of Columbia. Yet the drug remains an illegal Schedule 1 substance under federal law.
“I do expect you’ll see greater enforcement,” Spicer said, adding the exact policy is “a question for the Department of Justice.”
Thursday’s remarks are the latest signal that Trump plans a stricter approach to the drug than the Obama administration.
Attorney General Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsBannon encouraged Sessions to run for president before meeting Trump: report Sanders: 'What do the Russians have on Mr. Trump?' Poll: Trump controversies make him more popular among supporters MORE, who has criticized recreational marijuana use in the past, was coy on the matter during his confirmation hearing last month.
“Using good judgement about how to handle these cases will be a responsibility of mine,” he said. "I know it won’t be an easy decision, but I will try to do my duty in a fair and just way.”
Twenty states have laws allowing the drug for medical purposes. Spicer indicated the administration will not go after medical marijuana users, saying Trump believes in medical marijuana’s ability to “comfort” people suffering from debilitating diseases.
Congress also passed a law barring the Justice Department from going after medical marijuana operators.
Trump takes a different view of recreational marijuana, he added, linking it to the abuse of opioid drugs in states nationwide.
Some researchers believe medical marijuana can help reduce demand for opioid-based painkillers, and there is little evidence linking abuse of both drugs.