The on-going dispute about marijuana legalization is still uncertain. The latest twist in the story is led by Loretta Lynch, a nominee for attorney general.
Countless studies have shown the US authorities what the effects of marijuana are and why they are beneficial in many cases. Compared to all the legal alcoholic products, we know for certain that a joint of weed is not even close to the potential damage coming from booze. However, most of the government officials still oppose the idea of legalization and one of them is Lynch, President Obama’s nominee for attorney general, according to the New York Times.
Lynch might become an important figure in the debate on marijuana legalization. If confirmed, she will lead the Department of Justice and as we know in 2013 the same authority said that it will not prevent cannabis legalization in Washington and Colorado. In the meantime the other states such as Oregon and Alaska made huge progress in legalization. The District of Columbia approved the possession of small amounts, which is another small win.
Yes or No to Marijuana?
It turns out that Obama and Lynch have quite different views on cannabis. In her confirmation hearing Ms. Lynch gave some insights on her future policy on drugs. The future attorney general clearly pointed out that she will not support marijuana legalization. Her statement disagrees with President Obama who once told David Remnick of The New Yorker that he doesn’t see much harm in cannabis than alcohol.
Spending most of her days as a federal prosecutor, Ms. Lynch’s intentions are not surprise. She was deeply involved in the “war on drugs” just as many other government officials. At some point of her hearing, Lynch revealed that she will follow the existing federal policy and make sure that the drug is not distributed to children. She also made clear that transportation of marijuana to places, where it’s illegal to do so, will be prosecuted. In general, Ms Lynch did not mention anything, which can be a factor in the on-going marijuana legalization trend. It seems the policy of the Department of Justice will remain unchanged.
In summary, the current state of the marijuana legalization process is still uncertain and more discussions are yet to be presented. The Obama administration’s policy on drugs, and cannabis in particular, is yet to be cleared out. A sudden change can still occur according to Ms. Lynch’s statements. However, the Congress and administration could still decide to exclude marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act’s Schedule I, which would be a great step in the right direction. We can only hope for a positive change and continue to advocate for independent state decisions on marijuana legalization.