(KAIT/TALK BUSINESS & POLITICS) - There are at least two different issues at stake as states deal with the policy ramifications involving the use of marijuana, White House spokesman Sean Spicer told Talk Business & Politics' Roby Brock Thursday.
Brock participated in the White House press briefing and became the first publication or media outlet in Arkansas to do so.
According to a story from content partner Talk Business & Politics and a transcript of the briefing from the White House, the question centered around medical marijuana and the conflicts between state and federal law on the issue.
"I have a question on medical marijuana. Our state voters passed a medical marijuana amendment in November. Now we're in conflict with federal law, as many other states are," Brock asked Spicer. "The Obama administration kind of chose not to strictly enforce those federal marijuana laws. My question to you is: With Jeff Sessions over at the Department of Justice as AG, what's going to be the Trump administration's position on marijuana legalization where it's in a state-federal conflict like this?"
Spicer said the issue is multi-faceted.
"Thanks, Roby. There's two distinct issues here: medical marijuana and recreational marijuana. I think medical marijuana, I've said before that 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. And that's one that Congress, through a rider in 2011, looking for a little help; I think put in an appropriations bill saying the Department of Justice wouldn't be funded to go after those folks," Spicer responded.
"There is a big difference between that and recreational marijuana. And I think that when you see something like the opioid addiction crisis blossoming in so many states around this country, the last thing that we should be doing is encouraging people. There is still a federal law that we need to abide by in terms of the medical when it comes to recreational marijuana and other drugs of that nature. So, I think there's a big difference between medical marijuana, which states have a -- the states where it's allowed, in accordance with the appropriations rider, have set forth a process to administer and regulate that usage, versus recreational marijuana. That's a very, very different subject," Spicer said.
However, Spicer said in a follow-up question that the Department of Justice will decide how it enforces the law with respect to states allowing the recreational use of marijuana, Talk Business & Politics reported.
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