White House: Expect 'greater enforcement' of marijuana laws

"I do believe you will see greater enforcement," Sean Spicer said.

ByABC News
February 23, 2017, 7:13 PM

— -- The White House indicated Thursday that the enforcement of federal laws on recreational marijuana will increase during President Donald Trump's tenure in office.

Press secretary Sean Spicer, responding to a question at Thursday's press briefing about the Department of Justice's role when federal marijuana laws conflict with state statutes, said he believes there is a wide difference between recreational and medicinal marijuana use.

"I do believe you will see greater enforcement of [federal restrictions on recreational use]," said Spicer.

As for the drug's medicinal benefits, Spicer explained that Trump "understands ... the comfort" that medical marijuana brings to some sufferers of terminal diseases but Spicer showed concern for "encouraging" drug use "when you see something like the opioid addiction crisis blossoming around the states in the country."

Marijuana continues to be listed as a Schedule I substance by the Drug Enforcement Administration under the Controlled Substances Act, defined by the government as "drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse."

In 2012, President Barack Obama told ABC News that there were "bigger fish to fry" than recreational users of the drug in states like Colorado and Washington.

"It would not make sense for us to see a top priority as going after recreational users in states that have determined that it's legal," said Obama.

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