Trump logic: opiate problem = crackdown on marijuana

Ugh, the stupid!!  From the Post:

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Thursday that he expects states to be subject to “greater enforcement” of federal laws against marijuana use, a move that could undercut the growing number of jurisdictions moving to legalize the drug for recreational purposes.

Spicer, speaking at a White House press briefing, said that President Trump sees “a big difference” between use of marijuana for medical purposes and for recreational purposes.

“The president understands the pain and suffering that many people go through who are facing, especially terminal diseases, and the comfort that some of these drugs, including medical marijuana, can bring to them,” Spicer told reporters.

Spicer said that state’s allowance of marijuana for recreational purposes “ is something the Department of Justice, I think, will be further looking into.” …

In explaining the rationale of greater enforcement of federal marijuana laws, Spicer cited growing problems with other illicit drug use.

“I think that 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. There is still a federal law that we need to abide by.” [emphasis mine]

No, no, no!!!  Marijuana is a gateway drug like salad is a gateway food.  Just because most illegal drug users start with marijuana does not mean a causal chain.  It’s like suggesting a nacho appetizer or a salad causes people to eat dinner.  It just comes first.

In a statement Thursday afternoon, the National Cannabis Industry Association took issue with that argument.

“Science has discredited the idea that marijuana serves as any kind of gateway drug, and the addiction and death rates associated with opioids simply do not occur in any way with cannabis,” said Aaron Smith, the organization’s executive director.

He’s right!  But, I’d argue this is somewhat flawed journalism.  How about having one of the actual scientists say that scientists have discredited the idea.  You know a bunch or readers will automatically discount anything from the National Cannabis Industry Association.  This is just lazy “both sides” reporting.  Even better, the journalist should use their own voice to make this point.  “Scientists have found no evidence to support the gateway hypothesis…”

Anyway, big picture.  If there’s anything that’s a stupid waste of federal resources, it’s cracking down on recreational marijuana use in states that have decided it should be legal.  The Feds know best, that’s the Republican mantra, right?

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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