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Trump issues statement on spending bill, rejects limits on federal marijuana laws

| May 5, 2017 | Articles, News

by Dave Boyer // Washington Times

Like his two immediate predecessors, President Trump signed a massive spending bill into law Friday by adding caveats in a “signing statement” that asserts his authority against the wishes of Congress on issues ranging from enforcement of medical marijuana laws to the transfer of detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

In the statement accompanying a $1.1 trillion spending bill, Mr. Trump singled out a provision by lawmakers that bars the Justice Department from using funds “to prevent implementation of medical marijuana laws by various States and territories.”

Mr. Trump said, “I will treat this provision consistently with my constitutional responsibility to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”

That appears to be in line with Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ comments that he opposes the “expanded use” of marijuana. A White House spokeswoman could not immediately be reached for comment.

Twenty-eight states have some form of medical marijuana, but the drug is illegal under federal law.

The spending bill’s provision on medical marijuana prevents the Justice Department from arresting or prosecuting patients, caregivers, and businesses that are acting in compliance with state medical marijuana laws. The measure will only be binding through the end of September.

Mr. Trump noted that another provision in the spending bill restricting the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to foreign countries “does not include an exception for when a court might order the release of a detainee to certain countries.”

“I will treat these, and similar provisions, consistently with my constitutional authority as commander in chief,” Mr. Trump said.

Presidents Obama and George W. Bush issued dozens of “signing statements” spelling out areas where they disagreed with congressional intent in various legislation, and asserting their executive authority to carry out the law as they saw fit.