U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford, R-Charleston, is calling on the Trump administration to back off on plans to prosecute marijuana businesses in states where they operate legally.
Sanford spoke out on the floor of the House of Representatives after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announces plans to crack down on businesses that sell marijuana products in states where the drug has been legalized, despite a federal ban.
The libertarian-leaning Charleston Republican also posted about the issue on his Facebook page.
“I have never used any drug and don’t want my sons using them,” Sanford writes. “But, for me, this debate had little to do with federal drug policy and everything to do with federalism.”
The congressman from South Carolina’s coast compared the policy to plans to expand offshore drilling, which is opposed by several coastal states like South Carolina.
Sanford has co-sponsored a bill that would allow such businesses to claim federal tax deductions, and make it easier for them to operate by removing federal banking restrictions that treat transactions with marijuana businesses as if banks are doing business with with a drug cartel.
Federalism doesn’t mean we’ll agree with every decision that another citizen makes in another state, it just means that they should be given that right so that we have that right,” he said.
Sessions rescinded an Obama-era policy earlier this month that allowed marijuana-related businesses to operate in states that have legalized the drug. The Justice Department will instead allow federal prosecutors in each state to decide whether to prosecute cases against such businesses.