Just as several governors were talking about how their States were dealing with legalizing marijuana and the market in their own state, the President advocated for maintaining the Justice Department‘s ability to go after medical marijuana.
While States have taken into their own hands the legalization of cannabis Presidents have a back-door, budgetary method of keep their options open. A rider to the recent budget restricts the Justice Department from using its funds from preventing States from implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana. In other words, if a state has legalized cannabis, the Justice Department can’t use its budget to go after legal cannabis businesses in that State.
While the House recently refused to eliminate the rider protecting legalized cannabis, it is clear from other statements made by the President that he is no fan of legalizing marijuana or any leniency at all. The Federal government has always been at odds with State’s rights the question of legalization may be challenging the balance, forcing an Administration that wants control over the issue to use more authoritarian type levers.