Trump To States With Recreational Pot: Drop Dead

Tyler Durden's picture

Via Ryan McMaken of The Mises Institute,

In the days following the 2016 election, there were already worrying signs that the Trump administration didn't merely view the War on Drugs as a useful source of rhetoric to please some Conservatives. With the appointment of Jeff Sessions — who appears to be a true believer in the War on Drugs — the threat to federalism, states's rights, and local control was all too real. 

The fears continue to be stoked by the administration itself, and yesterday White House spokesman Sean Spicer announcing that "I do believe that you'll see greater enforcement of [federal law against marijuana]." 

So, in an administration where Trump's promised health care reforms are anything but a done deal — and which is plagued with leaks and conflict with the US intelligence establishment — Spicer suggests the administration has enough extra time to ramp up prosecutions of American citizens for smoking a joint. The fact that 81 percent of all drug arrests are for simple possession means that yes, increasing federal enforcement is about arresting and prosecuting small-time users. 

Spicer justifies this with the well-worn claim often made by Conservatives that "There is still a federal law that we need to abide by ... when it comes to recreational marijuana and other drugs of that nature."

At the core of this statement is the same hypocrisy that infects much of the right wing on the Drug War issue. 

Conservatives like to talk a good game about states's rights and local control when it comes to issues like gun laws and Obamacare, but federalism and the Constitution go right out the window on the drug issue. 

This has long been obvious, and was solidified in federal court when Trump's nominee to head the EPA, Scott Pruitt, sued Colorado in federal court when he was attorney general of Oklahoma. Pruitt and the GOP attorney general from Nebraska both attempted to get the federal court to render Colorado's drug laws null and void — which would have essentially destroyed what's left of federalism and states's rights down to its foundations. Pruitt, however, was making this same argument at the very same time he was arguing that the states had the right to override Obamacare mandates. 

But the hypocrisy does not stop there. Conservatives love to talk about following the "original intent" of the US Constitution and demanding the federal government do nothing that is not authorized by the Constitution. That, of course, is then conveniently forgotten on the drug issue. 

Although Sean Spicer certainly won't admit it, the "federal law we need to abide by" is not some federal statute passed by Congress about drugs. The law we need to abide by is found in the US Constitution — specifically the Tenth Amendment — where it clearly 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."

So does the Constitution delegate to the United States government the power to regulate what sort of plants people eat, smoke, or grow? Here's a hint: No, it doesn't. 

This refrain of Drug Warriors that those who don't like the Drug War need to "change the law" before they can complain requires a willful ignorance of the law contained in the US Constitution itself. 

Indeed, in more honest times, everyone knew the Constitution did not allow federal control of such matters which is why most everyone accepted that a Constitutional amendment was necessary to authorize federal prohibition of alcohol. It was only later that politicians realized they could just forget about all that Constitution stuff and pass federal statutes banning various substances at will. 

Of course even if the Constitution did authorize such things, it would be worthy of being ignored, just as federal laws and Constitutional provisions protecting slavery were always worthless and should have been ignored by everyone everywhere.

Spicer then went on to make other fact-free claims in his attempt to connect marijuana use to recent surges in opioid deaths. Lizzy Acker in The Oregonian reports

"I think that when you see something like the opioid addiction crisis blossoming in so many states around this country," Spicer said, "the last thing that we should be doing is encouraging people."


Though Spicer drew a connection between opioid use and marijuana, there is no known connection between the two. According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2015 more than 33,000 people died from opioid overdoses, which includes both heroin and prescription painkillers, "more than any year on record."

The CDC reported that "nearly half of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid."


Marijuana overdoses account for no deaths, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. In fact, a study reported in "Time" in 2016, said that "when states legalized medical marijuana, prescriptions dropped significantly for painkillers."

As Mark Thornton shows, the problem of opioid deaths can be traced back to the mainstream medical profession's frequent use of prescription painkillers, and has nothing at all to do with marijuana: 

One class of prescription drugs is directly related to the heroin epidemic, on which I have recently reported. To recap, drug companies that make opiate pain killers have influenced the American Academy of Pain Medicine to change their guidelines for prescribing pain killers. The changes in the guidelines have made it much more likely for doctors to prescribe pain killing opiate drugs such as Oxycontin and Vicodin for things like ordinary injuries and surgeries. The DEA, FDA, and the AMA monitor prescribing behavior of doctors, so they are more likely to follow such guidelines to avoid risk of sanction.


These drugs are highly effective for pain, but can be addictive and deadly themselves (16,000 deaths in 2015 alone). When the injuries heal, addicted patients can no longer get refills for the drugs. For those who have become addicted their choices are going cold turkey, enter an addiction treatment program, or obtain the drugs on the black market. In other words, they have no good choices.

And, while Spicer suggests arresting some pot users might somehow miraculously do something to cut down opioid use, the FDA is approving opioid use for 11 to 16 year olds, thus encouraging greater use on children. If the Trump administration is in the mood to crack down on somebody connected to the opioid addiction problem, there's no need to go out to Colorado or Oregon to do it. Trump can just drive over to the FDA headquarters in Maryland. 

And finally, this is just the latest indication that the Trump administration's priorities are not where they need to be. Earlier this month, David Stockman complained that Trump is letting himself get sidetracked from the important business of freeing up the economy. Stockman was apparently more right than he knew. 

When asked about drug issues in far-off states that have legalized recreational marijuana, Spicer could have simply said "we're concentrating on repealing Obamacare right now" or "we're really focused on helping small business people make a living" or "we're focused on finding peaceful solutions to pressing international issues right now, as in Syria." All of those issues require immense focus, time and effort from Trump himself and his advisors. But no, the administration decided to declare war on seven US states instead. 

There are only so many hours in the day. Trump might want to take a closer look at how he uses them.

*  *  *

Update: This afternoon, AG Sessions noted:  THERE'S 'VIOLENCE' AROUND POT SMOKING


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icey4826's picture

Just make it legal, and watch all the snowflakes praise Trump :D

38BWD22's picture



Trump is making a big mistake on this one...


fauxhammer's picture

No way Trump can put this genie back in the toothpaste tube.

LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD's picture
LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD (not verified) fauxhammer Feb 27, 2017 9:12 PM

Excuse me... "Drop dead... Duuuude."

Deathrips's picture

Pot will still be available. Tithings to the state..not so much.



So Close's picture

I've said all along the fellow ain't perfect.  He was just the best choice avaiable.  And a far sight better than most.  Making good the enemy of perfect is a fools game populated by imperfect analog beings.

froze25's picture

If they just remove it from the schedule 1 list , that would be a major step in the right direction. 

rccalhoun's picture

stay the fuck out of state's rights Donald or you will lose most of your support.  huge fuck up

you lost my last reamining hope for your presidency.  Next.......who's next up as president?

HillaryOdor's picture

This should be a tough one for the ZH commenters.  It's from, but it's pro pot.  

tmosley's picture

Change the law, OR escalate to the Supreme Court and argue that the Federal government has no right to regulate it.

Suspect Trump, being a teelotaler, doesn't quite have the empathy for those who do that he should. This is one major downpoint, but no-one else has ever made any move to legalize it either, including those who outright admitted to using it. Hopefully we will see a deal made here. Legalization would not only create a great new recreational drug industry, but a fiber industry as well.

chubbar's picture

At a minimum, send it to the states to decide.

BaBaBouy's picture

@ Hmmmmm ... THUMP is on a Roll ~ ~ ~

*** More Nukes

*** Major increase in War spending 54B

*** Reverse Policy & Keep private Prisons

*** Prosecution in States with Legalized Pot (By Vote)

Trucker Glock's picture

Already been to SCOTUS. Pothead lost.

Interstate commerce trumps states' rights.  See what I did there?

QuantumEasing's picture

"Regulate" does not mean "Control."

Or "Meddle."

Or anything of the sort. It means to make uniform. As in, you can ensure all States are maintaining the same tariffs for goods flowing into or out of them.

Same thing regarding the 10th Amendment.

NOBODY seems to remember the Bill of Rights is NEGATIVE LAW. It decrees what the Fed MAY NOT DO.


InternetToughGuy's picture

Yes, but since Wickard v Filburn, the commerce clause has become preeminent.

Justice Thomas' dissent in the marijuana case does a pretty good job of explaining why the federal government has no authority here:

Zero Point's picture

I just plain old don't trust people who don't drink. There's always something, not quite right about them.

windywoo's picture

Recovering alcoholics have the most fun.

OregonGrown's picture

Donald will lose 33% - 66% of his republican support if he goes after pot!


HEY DONALD...... the average age of the person going into a RECREATIONAL marijuana dispensary is 55 years old.... Are you really going to do that to people that are now just retiring and FINALLY able to do WHAT THEY ALWAYS WANTED to do, but couldnt and often times didnt because they had responsibilities (or couldnt because they didnt want to lose their job or career).... but now, just want to retire in peace?

Who in the FUCK do you think you are?  Bloomberg?  

All you fucking billionaires are the same! It's not enough to have all the money in the world, but you want to dictate to the masses how they should live... AND THAT IS NOT RIGHT! As long as a person isnt hurting another or damaging property, why even give a fuck?  That is between them and their creator / universe (whatever you want to call "it") and has nothing to do with you, or how you feel about pot!  If you dont like it, DONT SMOKE IT.... but for fuck sakes, you better not tell me what the fuck I can or can not do.... NOT UP TO YOU!

FYI, pot has been legal in Oregon since 1998..... Always been here, Always will be here....  

Either you legalize it / regulate it.... Or you let the cartels regulate it!  Up too you!  

You are a business man, as well as a freedom and liberties man.....USE YOUR HEAD!

Do you want your cut of the 50 billion dollar pie, or not?  

Giant Meteor's picture

Meh, The Wall of Meat, Gonna be pissed, and that posse the other day that showed up to offer him protection, stoners all.

Tarzan's picture

I agree with you to a point.  What I have a problem with is the Government forcing the people to buy their pot from you! 

If they're going to legalize it, don't create a monopoly on who gets to grow and sell it.  Oh but they will, because they line their pockets at every move.  They don't really believe in free markets.

The violence Sessions refers to is directly caused by the regulations that prevent pot smokers from growing their own damn weed, or buying it from their neighbor.  The CIA and Cartels monopolize the pot market, and then go to war, fighting each other over who will dominate the market.

Now, they "legalize" it, license you and a couple other chosen winners to be growers and distributors, tax the fuck out of it, and then force everyone to buy your tax inflated weed.  These new weed laws are all about feeding corporate dogs, and tax revenue, not correcting bad law.

If pot smokers where free to grow their own in their closet, or buy it where they please, there would be no drug wars in the pot trade, no gangs fighting over turf, and no cops chasing and shooting the corner pusher.

OregonGrown's picture

Great point!  But know, there is still alot of people selling weed in this state (and others) who are directly benefiting from the overpriced / over regulated priced weed set by dispensaries.  Because of my business and others, all growers are getting more for their product this year, then they got last year.  Besides, when every person can grow 4 plants legally in this state in their own back yard, KNOW that there are many more outlets TODAY for the masses to get smoke untaxed from the neighbor, rather then a dispensary.  Which is a win-win in my book.  Know I championed for ALL to be in this industry, not just myself (for I already had mine)..... and know marijuana is more free market today, then it ever has been EVER.

SixIsNinE's picture

EXACTLY - IF Trump really goes one millimeter towards reversing the liberation of cannabis and the retarded drug war he will LOSE everything.



Got it Trump !


IF he does this brain-dead action - then we will have to eat shit and go to Master of the Universe and bow down.   That i don't want to do, but if Donny fucks this up then he is indeed a gigantic retard.


IntTheLight's picture

I changed my mind on drugs. It destroys young people. I don't advocate prison but let's have a conversation on what drugs do to people. Same with binge drinking. If kids learned to drink with mom and dad, we wouldn't see the horrible goings on at university. A child's brain isn't fully developed til they are about 20. Add a lot of drugs and alcohol and you get one messed up adult.

LithiumWarsWAKEUP's picture

You are correct in your words "young people" and "child's brain not fully developed". Indeed. This is why simple yet firm Use and Regulation of Sales must be made. Say, '20 years minimum age'. Hells bells, we can have min of 20 to have wars, too. Gosh gee whiz,,,maybe just outlaw wars and let everyone 20,,,"or more if you are not yet emotionally evolved" be legal.  Up to the person to decide. Up to the Gov't to tax the product, and Regulate it. For a Gov't to say that one cannot 'alter one's Consciousness' using a plant is humanely wrong. Reminds me of Saudia Arabia cutting off hands for stealing something,,,a bit harsh, huh? The only reason for the 'drug war' is Prohibition keeps it going. We've been through this before with Alcohol. Can't learn anything, USA? Gee whiz...

windywoo's picture

Let's have the conversation but let the parents deal with pot the same as they deal with alcohol.  We don't need big brother messing with our lives...surely they can find something else for the myriads of swat teams and organ harvesters to do.

Free Spirit's picture

C´mon, You can´t compare legal pot to alcohol. Alcohol is a strong poison to the brain.

As for medical marijuana pls tell me who uses alcohol for medical physical (not mental) reasons ?

Trump outlaws it because his friends in the republican Party protects the worlds largest alcohol and pharmacy industries who prefer not to compete with drugs they don´t own.  It´s called monopolism. To make us accept that crazy monopolism they belie and demonize harmless drugs while recommending "responsible drinking" and allowing lethal but legal heroin substitutes of their own manufacturiong 

Jeeeesus ....

wildbad's picture


all tenth amendment issues should not be legislated for or against by the feds.

donald - you have really got to internalize that fact.

this is one of MANY issues that has no place in federal jurisprudence

Elco the Constitutionalist's picture
Elco the Constitutionalist (not verified) So Close Feb 27, 2017 9:48 PM

In general, I agree. But, at some point you have to conceded that his fundamental understanding of issues is flawed.

If he is just rearranging the Leviathan, he is not just imperfect, but part of the problem.

We hired him to drain the swamp, not restructure it.

Trucker Glock's picture

He just wants to enforce Federal law.  He can't deport potheads, so he has to okay private prisons to house them.  Man of integrity.

Free Spirit's picture

"He just wants to enforce Federal law"

Absolute Bullshit.  He is protecting the worlds two largest and by far most lethal drug monopolies: The western alcohol industry and the western pharmacy industry. He doesn´t care a bit about the users or federal law except as a tool to reach this goal..

SoilMyselfRotten's picture

There's violence around pot smoking. What a frickin idiot Sessions is.

LithiumWarsWAKEUP's picture

Violence as in the Mexican's Suppliers, true. How about the Colorado legal suppliers? Violence there? I don't see it. Misleading statement.

Abaco's picture

The violence is around a product that has been banned - much like there was around alcohol. Sessions works hard at being ignorant.

SixIsNinE's picture

no - we actually believed that he embodied some "americana" about freedom and responsibility and common sense - and getting rid of stupid fake laws.


No if Trump allows Sessions to get away with bullshit like that then we know we've been had.

This is the dividing line in the sand.  

Trump - do NOT make us turn our back on you. 


If we don't hear an apology from Sessions this week, and  a commitment from Trump himself for liberation of cannabis and ending the retarded drug war then we WILL remove all support from him immediately.


Free Spirit's picture

I think Trump is the best example through history of US presidents cheating on his voters. IMHO You HAVE been had. Badly !

Jim Sampson's picture

One term. So sad, all the ZH people on here licking his sack... smh

UnclePhester's picture
UnclePhester (not verified) Jim Sampson Feb 27, 2017 9:20 PM

You know, I'm sure there is some sort of Sodomite Forum somewhere out there you'd feel more comfortable posting in, you in around your own kind.

Billy the Poet's picture

Licking balls is the only way he knows to show approval. You've got to taylor the test to his experiences or you're discriminating against him.

Proofreder's picture

tailor, Billy, T A I L O R -

Taylor is a first name, Tailor is the occupation.

When cigarettes were first manufactured in large quantities, the manufacturers chose tailors for their nimble fingers to accomplish the task and publicized the product as being "Tailor Made".  Like any memorable phrase, the moniker stuck in the public mind but is often misstated; a bank offering a tailor-made loan for example.

Your literary foundation is better than this, Willy - shape up !

SixIsNinE's picture

0-6 now - geez.... Billy sounds like he knows what he's talkin' about ....


i don't want to have to go around echoing MOU,  "Trumpo the Assclown"  - now do you other zeros?


now if Alex Jones can get on his batphone to Donny and let him know that this shit is not going to fly in Boise, or in Topeka or in Tulsa or in Denton or in Columbus or in Pittsburg or in any flyover territory - we WILL put the SkankBeast in 2020 if you FUCK this up Donny! 

Got it!


The Saint's picture
The Saint (not verified) UnclePhester Feb 27, 2017 9:31 PM

Change federal law if you don't like it.  Until then, burn the pot fields and shut down the dispenseries.


chunga's picture

Right after that audit the Fed!

HillaryOdor's picture

and continue licking those boots when ordered to

SixIsNinE's picture

are you completely drunk right now? 

otherwise you have shown your intellect to be at a level below that required to be BogMaster


go slink off into your slimepit Saint of the Underworld


Abaco's picture

Fuck you moron.  Amend the constitution if you want the war on drugs to be illegal.  Until then go back to your closet and pound yourself in the ass with your mothers dildo.

Free Spirit's picture

"Change federal law if you don't like it"

How could ZH readers achieve that? Impossible. But many voted naively for Trump to achive certain goals they thought Trump was behind somehow.  

Well, Trump was BEHIND his voters but not to support them as voters in the US election but to .....