Cannabis Talk on Meet the Press

By David Jenison on March 20, 2017

On Meet the Press yesterday, host Chuck Todd asked Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper about cannabis, and the one-time legalization opponent said he's nearly completed an about-face on the topic. He called cannabis legalization "one of the great social experiments of our time" and that the good has so far outweighed the bad in Colorado's nation-leading experiment. 

Asked about the coming crackdown hinted at by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, the governor noted that Cory Gardner, a Republican senator from Colorado, spoke with Attorney General Jeff Sessions about recreational cannabis. Gardner was "led to believe that Senator Sessions said enforcement of marijuana was not… worth rising to the top and becoming a priority." He also argued that the crackdown would do more harm than good. 

The most interesting comment, however, involved a discussion of states' rights. Hickenlooper suggested that the federal government might not have the legal right to stop a state from legalizing medical and/or recreational cannabis. "At this rate, it’s a sovereignty [issue]," explained the governor. "The states have a sovereignty just like Indian tribes have a sovereignty, and just like the federal government does."

Hickenlooper is not the only state politician pushing back against federal overreach. On Friday, Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom sent a letter to Donald Trump and Sessions encouraging them to embrace legalization. Newsom wrote, "The government must not strip the legal and publicly-supported industry of its business, and hand it back to drug cartels and criminals. Dealers don’t card kids. I urge you and your administration to work in partnership with California and the other eight states that have legalized recreational marijuana for adult use in a way that will let us enforce our state laws that protects the public and our children, while targeting the bad actors. We have a shared goal of reducing crime, and the best way we can achieve that is through a tightly regulated market."

Should the Trump Administration go after legal cannabis, it appears Hickenlooper, Newsom and other state officials are willing to fight back with every legal tool available. Hopefully Trump decides this fight won't be worth it. 

Photo Credit: Facebook.

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