Pubdate: Thu, 19 Apr 2018
Source: Blade, The (Toledo, OH)
Copyright: 2018 The Blade


Reports that President Donald Trump now supports state-level marijuana
regulation have primed him for an easy bipartisan win, which may also
afford him a lane for further victories down the line.

Senator Cory Gardner (R., Colo.), who has been blocking several of Mr.
Trump's Justice Department nominees after Attorney General Jeff
Sessions rescinded an earlier Justice Department memo that protected
marijuana operations in states like Colorado from federal law
enforcement, has announced that he will end his blockade. He says that
President Trump promised him "that he will support a federalism-based
legislative solution to fix this states' rights issue once and for

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed that Mr.
Gardner's statement is "accurate."

Mr. Trump's decision to put the fate of legal marijuana in the hands
of each individual state will yield him two victories.

The first, and most obvious, is that he has opened the door for his
appointees to the Justice Department, thereby affecting greater
movement on more pertinent and threatening issues than marijuana.
Problems such as sex trafficking and the shipping of fentanyl through
the U.S. Postal Service need more hands and legal minds.

The second victory is more philosophical: Mr. Trump's embrace of
state-level regulations is an important reminder that the federal
bureaucracy of the United States has too frequently overreached and
bullied the states. There is nothing that makes smoking or not smoking
marijuana an inherently federal issue.

Smoking marijuana can be a crippling addiction, like drinking alcohol
and smoking cigarettes. There are inherent risks when partaking of it.
But it should be up to the citizens of a given state to decide if they
would like to legalize this substance or not.

In states afflicted by the opioid crisis, the ability to make this
choice could be particularly important. During a recent visit with The
Blade's editorial board, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman said that marijuana
laced with the deadly opiate fentanyl could be on the rise. While
others have disputed the validity of this claim, legal marijuana could
settle the concern for all. Legal cannabis would be regulated by the
state, underage people would be prohibited from purchasing it, and the
state would have a new economic industry.

Of course, each state should also have the option to not legalize
marijuana. There are justifiable concerns about its use, particularly
by young people, and it is the right of any state to decline to
legalize it.

But Mr. Trump's decision to respect the ability of American citizens
to make their own choices is a win for him and the foundational values
of liberty and privacy.
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