Sunday, January 7, 2018

Feds Trump States

I have to feel sorry for Phil Murphy.  He's about to become governor of New Jersey, he's been looking forward to pursuing a progressive agenda, and Donald Trump has been hell-bent on making sure that that doesn't happen!  Not in New Jersey, not in Virginia,. not anywhere, in fact.
This past week Trump let his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, let the dogs out on pot growers. Federal anti-cannabis laws will now be strictly enforced, even in states that okay legal marijuana use, because Sessions doesn't like it.  Well, that's understandable; having grown up in the South and spent his high school years in the early sixties, Sessions is likely a very straight-laced guy, but that doesn't give him the right to undermine the states and undercut the Tenth Amendment.  Especially when opioids - which marijuana can cure addictions to - are a bigger health crisis than pot smoking.  Republicans, of course, are only big on states' rights when the states want to supersede any form of authority they don't like.
Except, however, Republican Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado, whose state legalized pot smoking and who is so livid at Sessions that he's threatened to block future Justice Department appointments, which require Senate confirmation.
This, of course, makes it more difficult for Murphy to legalize and tax recreational pot like he wanted to, and lawyers will probably tell him not to bother, given the inexplicably (until you realize that, now that more states are legalizing recreational cannabis, including California, the marijuana market is growing, well, like a weed) sudden policy change.  Those who resist Trump find a counter-resistance move in their faces.
And if that weren't bad enough, Trump wants to open all of American seaboard to offshore oil and gas drilling, which would ruin the tourist business in any state with oceanfront beaches while inviting more opportunities for spills like the Deepwater Horizon disaster.  Except that Trump's move has generated bipartisan opposition in all of these states, not all of which is Democratic opposition; in Florida, Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Republican Governor Rick Scott - hoping to join Rubio in the Senate come 2019 - oppose it.
Well, well - Scott discovered science and the environment.
So leases on oil and gas drilling offshore aren't going to be issued any time soon.  Neither will arrest warrants for pot smokers - Sessions still has to form a policy, which will likely be challenged in court.  With all that in mind, Phil Murphy may yet have the opportunity to create a liberal paradise in New Jersey.

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