Lieutenant Governor of California Gavin Newsom sent a letter to President Trump Friday expressing his support for the marijuana industry. The letter comes after an announcement made by Press Secretary Sean Spicer Thursday, stating that the Trump Administration viewed recreational marijuana use as a flagrant violation of federal law, and hinting at increased enforcement.
Marijuana legalization in California passed under Prop. 64 last November, garnering 57 percent of the vote—equating to nearly eight million people. But this latest move by the federal government could throw a wrench in plans to expand the lucrative marijuana growing industry.
“When you see something like the opioid addiction crisis blossoming around so many states the last thing we should be doing is encouraging people,” Spicer stated. “There is still a federal law we need to abide by in terms of when it comes to recreational marijuana and other drugs of that nature.”
Newsom slammed a crackdown on marijuana use, citing the “draconian” policies that have encouraged illegal underground sales of drugs and have been largely ineffective in keeping marijuana out of kids’ hands. “A 2014 National Institute on Drug Abuse study showed that, despite cannabis’ classification by the federal government as a Schedule 1 illegal substance, 34 percent of 10th graders had used cannabis – making the substance more prevalent among this age group than the highly regulated and legal tobacco industry,” Newsom stated.
But Newsom says he does believe there are solutions to be found through legalization and the accompanying enforcement. “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.”
The letter concluded with a zinger aimed directly at Spicer. “With regard to your Press Secretary’s grossly misinformed comments, marijuana is nothing like an opioid and there is no scientific evidence that marijuana use increases the use of opioids,” he stated. “Unlike marijuana, opioids represent an addictive and harmful substance, and I would welcome your administration’s focused efforts on tackling this particular public health crisis.”
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Susan Soares has written for Cannabis Now Magazine, Alternet, and Sensi Magazine.