Fed. govt. must take position on medical marijuana

In West Virginia and Ohio, it’s official: Breaking the law is not against the law — at least when marijuana is involved.

Both states have legislation making use of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, legal for health care purposes. West Virginia’s measure was just signed into law by Gov. Jim Justice. Ohio’s has been in effect for some time, but state officials still are working out the details.

But possession of marijuana in any form is illegal under federal law. That puts Ohio and West Virginia, in concert with 26 other states that have “legalized” medicinal marijuana, in the position of advocating behavior that is criminal by federal statute.

Will federal officials crack down? They did not during former President Barack Obama’s administration. Then, the White House refused to enforce the law against possession of marijuana.

In fact, Obama’s administration actively aided marijuana traffickers in states where recreational use of the substance is legal. It did so by encouraging banks to find ways around another law, against accepting deposits by those engaged in the marijuana business.

What will President Donald Trump’s administration do? Mixed messages are being sent.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants a crackdown. “Good people don’t smoke marijuana,” he said last year, while still a senator from Alabama.

But Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly differs. He told reporters recently that “marijuana is not a factor in the drug war.” He supports medicinal use of marijuana.

Complicating the situation is that, as we noted have previously, the Federal Food and Drug Administration has not taken an official position on medicinal marijuana.

This is absurd. Either marijuana is a dangerous drug or it is not. Either it provides genuine relief to those whose suffer from some medical conditions or it does not.

Either it should be illegal — or it should not.

It is high time for Washington to answer those questions. A good start for Trump would be at the FDA.


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