Medical Marijuana Arguments Dismissed as “Desperate” by Trump Administration Official
Late Friday, President Donald Trump signaled he may ignore a Congressional ban on interfering with state medical marijuana laws, arguing in a lengthy statement that he is not legally bound by a series of limits lawmakers imposed on him.
President Trump issued the “signing statement” Friday after he signed a measure funding the government for the remainder of the federal fiscal year.
President Trump also suggested he may ignore gender and racial preferences in some government programs as well as congressional requirements for advance notice before taking a range of foreign policy and military actions.
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions vowed to crack down on marijuana and has dismissed arguments for its medical use as “desperate.”
“I reject the idea that we’re going to be better placed if we have more marijuana,” Sessions said in a speech to law-enforcement officials in March. “It’s not a healthy substance, particularly for young people.”
So far 29, and the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico now allow for medical marijuana use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
President Trump argued in the statement that his constitutional prerogatives supersede the restrictions Congress placed on him as a condition for funding government operations.
A senior adviser at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, DC, said President Trump’s signing statement signaled his desire to usurp power from the legislative branch.
“It is the constitutional prerogative of the Congress to spend money and to put limitations on spending,” a former staff director of the Senate Budget Committee and an aide to former Senator Pete Domenici (R:NM), said by phone. “This is an extremely broad assertion of executive branch power over the purse.”
In the signing statement, President Trump singled out a provision in the spending bill that says funds cannot be used to block states from implementing medical marijuana laws.
“I will treat this provision consistently with my constitutional responsibility to take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” he said.
The White House described the President’s signing statement as routine, but did not indicate whether he planned to take action to defy Congressional restrictions.
Some believe that President Trump’s stance on the medical marijuana provision in the bill is at odds with the 10th Amendment, which protects states from federal overreach.
The president is bound by the language in the spending bill that now bears his signature.
Part of the argument here in this signing statement is that he has the constitutional requirement to execute the law. But this is one of those laws, and Congress has the ultimate authority over funds getting spent.
We wait, We see.
Have a terrific weekend.