Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, who said earlier this week that cannabis is "not a factor" in the drug war.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

DHS Director Reverses Stance; Calls Cannabis ‘Gateway Drug’

After just two days ago saying that “marijuana is not a factor in the drug war,” Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly changed his tune claiming that cannabis is “a potentially dangerous gateway drug” during his first public speech since being sworn in.

“… Its use and possession is against federal law and until the law is changed by the U.S. Congress we in DHS are sworn to uphold all the laws on the books,” he said during Tuesday’s speech at George Washington University’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security.

Kelly said that DHS personnel will continue investigating “marijuana’s illegal pathways along the network into the U.S., it’s distribution within the homeland, and will arrest those involved in the drug trade according to federal law” adding that the Transportation Security Administration will “take appropriate action” if cannabis is discovered at baggage screening and aviation checkpoints. Kelly also said that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials will continue using cannabis “possession, distribution, and convictions as essential elements” in building deportation, removal, and apprehension packages “for target operations against illegal aliens.”

“Additionally, science tells us that [cannabis] is not only psychologically addictive but can also have profound negative impact on the still-developing brains of teens and up through the early 20s,” he remarked.

Kelly’s comments are the latest by members of the Trump Administration against maintaining a more relaxed cannabis policy, although Attorney General Jeff Sessions has indicated that he had no plans to scrap the 2014 Cole Memorandum of the previous administration which prevented federal agencies from interfering with state-approved cannabis regimes.

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