Earlier today, Attorney General Jeff Sessions reportedly rescinded an Obama-era marijuana policy which allowed legal marijuana to thrive, according to the Associated Press.
This policy was one that was announced in a memo by the Obama administration in 2013 and stated that it would not impede states that legalized marijuana, providing that it was kept away from children and gangs.
Essentially, the Obama administration provided federal leniency on the matter, and let States decide on the matter, as he should. This was a good move by the Obama administration, because it aligns with the 10th Amendment of the United States Constitution, and the governmental concept of federalism.
The 10th Amendment of the Constitution states that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” This meaning that things not specifically given to or prohibited to the federal government by the Constitution should be put to the states.
And Federalism is, “a system of government in which the same territory is controlled by two levels of government. Generally, an overarching national government is responsible for the federal governance, governing the issues that affect the entire country, while the smaller subdivisions, states, and cities, govern the issues of local concern.” The United States applies a form of this federal system, as noted by the 10th Amendment. However, “the Constitution has established a system of ‘dual sovereignty,’ under which the States have surrendered many of their powers to the Federal Government, but also retained a ‘residuary and inviolable sovereignty.'” This meaning the States have given over much of their power as a result of dual sovereignty, but have reserved the right to lasting sovereignty that can never be broken.
Overall, the move by the Obama administration was the right one that was in line with the U.S. Constitution.
Now, however, Sessions has rescinded this policy, essentially stripping the power from the States.
In a one-page memo to U.S. Federal Prosecutors, Sessions wrote, “In deciding which marijuana activities to prosecute under these laws with the Department’s finite resources, prosecutors should follow the well-established principles that govern all federal prosecutions.”
This does not align with the views of the President, however. This is strictly a policy endorsed by Sessions.
In an interview in 2016, President Trump said, in regards to the legalization of marijuana, “I think it’s up to states, absolutely.”
If the President feels this way, then why is his Attorney General going directly against him?
Sessions is taking this approach because he has, “assailed marijuana as comparable to heroin and has blamed it for spikes in violence,” according to the Associated Press. This notion, however, has been completely debunked by modern science.
This move displays ignorance to modern science, a blatant disregard for the President’s wishes, and a blatant disrespect for the United States Constitution.