Last Wednesday, President-elect Donald Trump appointed retired Marine Gen. John F. Kelly to head the the Department of Homeland Security.
Gen. Kelly was stationed in Miami leading the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), which orchestrates military operations in Central America, the Caribbean and South America. SOUTHCOM has military personnel collaborate with federal agencies to train Latin American militaries and law enforcement agencies on how to best take down drug cartel operations.
Speaking with the Military Times, Gen. Kelly said that allowing advancements in cannabis legalization in the states defeated the purpose of U.S. efforts to stop illicit drug trafficking.
Gen. Kelly argues that the best way to combat illegal drug trafficking in the states is by cutting off demand as much as possible. Hence, according to Gen. Kelly, legalizing cannabis fosters demand.
However, a recent study found that cannabis has actually found to reduce demand for dangerous drugs like alcohol, and opioids. A 2009 study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, even found that cannabis weakened the urge of using heroin in heroin-addicted mice.
Gen. Kelly does concede, nonetheless, that his expertise does not qualify him to discredit cannabis’s therapeutic properties.
“I’m not a doctor,” Gen. Kelly told the Military Times. “But I’m told it has a medical use. So whether it’s veterans or anyone else, if it helps those people, then fine. Medicine is medicine. Every medicine is probably illegal unless you take it medicinally.”
During the campaign trail, as the Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump proposed that cannabis legalization be decided by the states under a Trump presidency.
Nonetheless, his Vice president-elect, Mike Pence, was governor of Indiana where no progress on cannabis legislation was made this year.
Further, President-elect Trump’s nominee for US Attorney General, Jeff Sessions has demonstrated his opposition to cannabis on numerous occasions.
Serving as Alabama US Attorney, Mr. Sessions once said that he thought the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) was “OK until I found out they smoked pot.”
Mr. Sessions claimed it was a joke, however, he said this while prosecuting a case against two KKK members who slit a young black man’s throat and hung his body from a tree. CNN reports that comments such as this “cost him a federal judgeship in 1986 and have been repeated time and again in summary form in newspaper and magazine articles over the years.”
During the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, Mr. Sessions listed all the reasons why he believed advancements in cannabis legalization in the United States were dangerous. And he has been quoted by numerous news outlets when he said, “good people don’t smoke marijuana.”
Regardless of his recent appointments and their positions on cannabis, President-elect Trump has repeated his full support for medical cannabis several times.