Longtime Trump Ally and Advisor on a Mission to Legalize Marijuana

Roger Stone, a staunch conservative and longtime friend and adviser to Donald Trump, recently announced the formation of a bipartisan United States Cannabis Coalition (USCC), whose goals include protecting states’ rights, legalizing marijuana and reforming “our antiquated and failed federal drug laws.”

Amen to that.

“I am going to be working with a coalition of Republicans and Democrats, progressives and libertarians, liberals, and conservatives to persuade the president to keep his campaign pledge, and to remind the president that he took a strong and forthright position on this issue in the election,” Stone said at the Cannabis World Congress and Business Expo (CWCB) in New York last.

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Trump and Sessions Need to Take a Deep Breath (and Perhaps Inhale) When It Comes to Pot Regulations

While there is much discussion and concern that the Trump administration will upset state law permitting medical and recreational marijuana use, there are numerous compelling arguments that any attempts can and should fail.

First, in December 2014, the United States Congress’ appropriations bill funding the federal government included the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, which provides:

None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, to prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.

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Meet the Hardcore Trump Republican Pushing Pot Reform’s Best Hope

Matt Gaetz is a conservative Republican’s conservative Republican.

Gaetz is a 34-year-old attorney who, while in the Florida legislature, pushed for accelerated executions and blocked any revision of the stand-your-ground law following Trayvon Martin’s shooting death. He now represents most of the Florida Panhandle in Congress.

Most of us would call those solid conservative bona fides “textbook reactionary,” but back at home in Gaetz’s First Congressional District, they’re local mores. His district is so solidly Republican, it’s an island of dark red floating in a less-red sea.

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Republicans Quietly Admit Medical Pot Is Here to Stay

No medical marijuana patient’s garden was too small for Asa Hutchinson. Under Hutchinson, who served as the administrator for the DEA under George W. Bush from August 2001 to January 2003, the nation’s drug cops raided cannabis grows with as few as six plants.

Once the windowsill-sized gardens were wiped out, their gardeners went to prison—even if they were demonstrably sick medical marijuana patients, and even if it required some legal trickery.

To trigger plant-count-based mandatory minimums, Justice Department prosecutors would add up the number of marijuana plants grown over a period of several years. This meant growers in California could be in constant compliance with state law, but if they grew 33 plants a year for three years or more, it meant prison time in a federal bust.

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F The Poor: Republican Plan To Drug-Test Recipients of Unemployment Benefits

Being poor in 21st-century America, the cruelest of all the so-called western democracies, is a struggle for survival straight out of Charles Dickens (minus the hope of rescue by a kind and moral wealthy benefactor). It may soon become much worse, after the Republican-controlled Congress moved Wednesday to allow states to force recipients of unemployment insurance to submit to drug testing before receiving a dime.

Republicans are using a parliamentarian trick called the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to gut a series of Obama-era regulations they don’t like. Cooked up by Newt Gingrich’s Congress in 1996, the CRA allows Congress to undo recently-passed federal rules by a majority vote, so long as the undoing is also approved by the president.

Like voting rights (another bugaboo for Republicans currently in their crosshairs), food stamps and unemployment insurance programs are managed by the states but are subject to some federal regulation. Last year, the Department of Labor ruled that states could only force holders of certain jobs—mostly workers in positions where there is a “public safety concern,” like police officers or bus drivers—to submit to drug-testing before receiving unemployment benefits.

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The Republicans Sick of Marijuana Prohibition And The Lawmakers Who Listen

Marijuana is bipartisan. We know this: In every session circle, there’s at least one person with a Ron Paul button stashed in a junk drawer or a Gary Johnson vote in his or her past (now hidden for all time, tucked away under the weight of a Trump presidency). 

But marijuana’s relationship with mainstream Republicans is complicated at best. 

Sure, you had presidential candidate Rand Paul stay true to the GOP’s small-government values and espouse marijuana legalization—and now we have Jeff Sessions and his avowed support for mandatory minimums and enforcing drug laws preparing to take over the Justice Department. 

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