Open Mic: Are you worried about recreational marijuana under the Trump administration?
March 5, 2017
Editor's note: Open Mic is a video series by the Summit Daily News. Each video will pick a topic of interest, with reactions from locals and visitors on the matter. The print version is featured in Monday's Views section.
Recent comments coming from the White House about greater enforcement of federal marijuana laws has caused concern among states where recreational use of the drug is permitted. Although officials have repeatedly stated their support of the medical marijuana industry, comments from White House press secretary Sean Spicer and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have left some wary.
"I do believe you will see greater enforcement of it," Spicer said in February, regarding federal drug laws — a reversal from the Obama administration's stance.
On Thursday, 11 senators from states that have legalized recreational or medicinal use, including Michael Bennet from Colorado, signed a letter asking Attorney General Jeff Sessions to uphold the Department of Justice's existing enforcement policy toward states with voter-approved marijuana laws. In Summit County, District Attorney Bruce Brown disputed a claim by Sessions that violence was increasing because of the legalization of pot at the state level.
"It's a tough equation to know with certainty, but I feel like legalization did not at all significantly increase threats to public safety," he said.
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We asked both locals and visitors on the streets of Frisco whether they were concerned about recreational marijuana under the Trump administration. Here are their answers:
Kyle Volkert, Frisco
I'm somewhat concerned with the federal government coming in and interfering with states' rights as far as recreational marijuana goes. I feel like the federal government should just let the states determine whether they should have the right for recreational marijuana use. Hopefully they don't come in, and butt in with it. I feel like the program has done well in Colorado, especially for the tax money going to the schools and the amount of revenue that is being generated through that program. So hopefully they will stay out of it and keep it the way it is.
I don't think it will happen. I don't think they'll decide that federal government should be in charge of whether or not states can make marijuana legal, but … I think it's ironic that now they want to shift health care back to the states, and all about states' rights, but now they are thinking about trying to take away marijuana. But I don't think it will happen.
I live in Pennsylvania, and my state just legalized medical marijuana, which I totally agree with. We haven't gotten to the recreational use yet — yet — but I think every state should control how it wants marijuana in its own state. I tend to go along with the less federal government the better, because each state is different, the people in each state are different, and I think they're the ones that should decide how it's done. Not a bunch of guys sitting in Washington.
Jennifer Gentry, Arizona
As far as the Trump administration, not only am I concerned about the welfare of the entire country let alone the world, but definitely any kind of restrictions that he may want to profit from, in the marijuana industry. I think everyone should be concerned.
Ramni Furuwi, Michigan
Under Trump's administration it wouldn't be a big surprise to me if he started cracking down federally on state legislation regarding recreational marijuana use. It seems that he already wants to go out of the way of the constitution in terms of the whole Muslim ban, and it wouldn't be a big surprise to me if he wanted to crack down on recreational marijuana.
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