At his daily White House press conference, Sean Spicer painted a clearer picture of how the Trump administration views recreational marijuana by likening it to the opioid crisis, Politico reports.
After explaining that the president "understands the pain and suffering" that medical marijuana eases in some people with terminal illnesses, the White House press secretary went on to say, "Recreational marijuana, that's a very, very different subject."
"When you see something like the opioid-addiction crisis blossoming in so many states around this country, the last thing we should be doing is encouraging people," Spicer said. He added, "I do believe that you'll see greater enforcement of it."
Spicer was right in some regard, as the opioid crisis is "blossoming." Roughly 30,000 Americans died of an opioid overdose in 2014, but prescription-painkiller abuse is rarely associated with recreational weed use. In some cases, weed has even been used to help opioid addicts get clean.
Back when Obama was in office, the government generally didn't step in to discourage states from legalizing recreational marijuana, which has already passed in Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. Spicer's statement seems to suggest that Trump's new attorney general, Jeff Sessions, might try to make it difficult for more states to try to legalize recreational use in the future. Sessions, who has been notably against expanding recreational marijuana laws, was vague about the issue during his Senate confirmation hearings.
Marijuana advocates, like Tom Angell of Marijuana Majority, find the move hypocritical.
"If the administration is looking for ways to become less popular, cracking down on voter-approved marijuana laws would be a great way to do it," Angell told VICE. "On the campaign trail, President Trump clearly and repeatedly pledged that he would leave decisions on cannabis policy to the states. With a clear and growing majority of the country now supporting legalization, reneging on his promises would be a political disaster and huge distraction from the rest of the president's agenda."