Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Law of the Land Sessions Is Right to Enforce Federal Marijuana Law

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Law of the Land Sessions Is Right to Enforce Federal Marijuana Law

Article excerpt

An unwarranted firestorm followed U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions' decision last week to give federal prosecutors more leeway in enforcing federal marijuana laws. Mr. Sessions did not order a crackdown on the drug, as his critics from both political parties would have the public believe, only unshackled his prosecutors to react to local circumstances and bring charges when warranted. This is prudent law enforcement.

Across the country, many states have legalized medical marijuana and a handful allow the drug's recreational use. In California, recreational use became legal Jan. 1. The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday that some states are eyeing expanded recreational use in public spaces, such as at "pot cafes" and "marijuana-friendly lounges." Pennsylvania has legalized medical marijuana, though it's not yet available, and state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale last year recommended legalizing and taxing recreational use to gain a share of what is shaping up to be a lucrative industry elsewhere.

While there may be legitimate uses of marijuana for medical reasons, there is dissonance between the nation's headlong rush toward recreational pot and the raging opioid epidemic. It is difficult to see the sense in legalizing recreational use of the drug in the many parts of the country already devastated by opioids, especially when marijuana could become another link in the chain of abuse. It is difficult to see the logic in cracking down on pharmaceutical companies that have flooded communities with opioids while opening the door for marijuana proliferation. After years of campaigns to limit drunken driving, recreational use of marijuana raises the specter of a new fight against another type of impairment.

Mr. Sessions didn't cite any of this in his decision to end an Obama administration policy that generally prevented U. …

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