Reefer Madness: Because “small government” is an oxymoron for authoritarian Conservatives

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump’s administration said on Thursday for the first time that it will crack down on marijuana sales in states that have approved recreational pot use. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the Department of Justice will pursue enforcement of federal law against recreational use, but not medical use. The statement marked a major break with the Obama administration’s hands-off approach to the growing marijuana legalization movement. “I do believe that you’ll see greater enforcement,” Spicer told reporters at his daily briefing. “Because again there’s a big difference between the medical use … that’s very different than the recreational use, which is something the Department of Justice will be further looking into.”

Remember when Republicans chanted “small government” as if they actually meant it? When “getting government off the backs of Americans” was an actual thing?

Yeah, me neither.

Republicans of late have been consumed by a decidedly authoritarian strain of Conservatism, one which is every bit as much about Big Government as the Liberals they derided for exactly that. The difference, of course, is for authoritarians “small government” has a very different meaning. Their translation of “small government” is “just small enough for us to force our narrow, intolerant agenda on all Americans. Behold the latest example of “small government” hypocrisy.

The decision is certain to provoke a fight with the states that have legalized recreational marijuana. Those states are Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington and the District of Columbia….

California legalization could translate to $5 billion in annual retail sales if Trump doesn’t intervene, according to estimates from Marijuana Business Daily. A cannabis caucus formed in Congress last week and vowed to fight Trump, if necessary, and protect legalization. Among the co-founders is Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican and Trump supporter[.]

The “Reefer Madness” mentality behind the approaching federal crackdown is astonishing. Despite widespread public support (83% of Texans polled favor legalization of marijuana), federal anti-drug warriors appear determined to go to war with states which have legalized the Devil’s Weed.

Despite legalization creating none of the dire impacts on public health and morality which were floated by opponents, marijuana has become a sizable and growing industry. Millions of dollars have been added to the tax base of states where it’s legal.

It fascinates me that federal anti-drug warriors remain apoplectic about the “deleterious” effects of legalized marijuana on our youth and society. They do so even as they remain silent about the far deadlier impact of alcohol abuse. It’s as if they’re willing to whistle past the graveyard to focus on a far less significant threat.

No hypocrisy here, Sheeple. Move along….

Nevada Senate Majority Leader Aaron D. Ford called on the state’s attorney general to “vigorously defend” the state’s laws.

“Not only did voters overwhelmingly vote to approve the legalization of recreational marijuana, the governor’s proposed education budget depends on tax revenue from recreational marijuana sales,” Ford said. “Any action by the Trump administration would be an insult to Nevada voters and would pick the pockets of Nevada’s students.”

Seventy-one percent of voters say the government should not enforce federal marijuana laws in states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana use, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll released Thursday. Fifty nine percent support legalizing recreational marijuana while 93 percent of Americans support medical marijuana use.

Then again, the will of the People is useful only when it supports your authoritarian designs. When it doesn’t, you’re protecting the American Sheeple against their own worst impulses. After all, NO one knows how to look after Americans better than authoritarian Republicans.

Spicer compared the use of recreational marijuana to the opioid addiction crisis that has ravaged many communities across the nation. “The last thing we should be doing is encouraging people,” he said. He referred specific questions on enforcement to the Justice Department.

Spicer’s astonishing ignorance when it comes to marijuana is typical of the “Reefer Madness” mindset of anti-drug warriors. That it has nothing to do with the truth is beside the point- they believe marijuana to be the Devil’s Weed; therefore every decision spins on that axis.

His comparison of recreational marijuana to opioid addiction is a stunning, willful ignorance of reality. Opioid addiction is certainly a terrible thing, but it has NO relation to marijuana use. There’s no data available showing marijuana to be addictive. Most marijuana users pose a threat only to a bag of Doritos or a sausage and pepperoni pizza. To compare marijuana users to opioid addicts is the sort of false equivalence we’ve quickly come to expect from the Trump Administration.

Nice work, America.

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