My expectations for Donald Trump‘s administration, in terms of agency actions and executive orders, have by-in-large been exceeded to date. Just when I’m getting comfortable, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo on Marijuana Enforcement that felt like a curveball, and as some have pointed out a contradiction to Trump’s previous positions.
At the end of the day, however, Sessions was right. We are the party of small government and states’ rights, but we can’t pick and choose laws to ignore. We (conservatives) screamed our heads off when Barack Obama decided to just pick and choose which immigration laws he wanted to ignore so it’s only fair we can’t pick and choose the marijuana laws to ignore. The Controlled Substances Act needs to be amended.
Like many jarring decisions and flip-flops of decisions made in the last year, the problem isn’t in the action but the execution of the action. Sessions himself, or the Trump administration as a whole, should have given Congress a heads up that they needed to take up this issue. With the immediate application of Sessions’ memo those selling pot in states where it is legal now find themselves facing prosecutorial discretion not a position I wish on anyone. This discretion if used will only lead to prolonged court battles, which in turn will lead to judges taking control of what is a legislative problem.
So while yes, some of the social conservative base will push back on federal action they’d be wrong. The Republican platform leaves little room for federal control on state issues even ones of subjective moral opposition.
Let’s be blunt: Congress has made it a point in recent years of side-stepping or avoiding tough issues it’s time they take this one on let the will of the people state-by-state prevail.