Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, who in the past has spoken against cannabis legalization.

Jim Greenhill

DHS Secretary John Kelly Says Cannabis “Not a Factor in the Drug War”

Department of Homeland Security John Kelly said Sunday that cannabis is a non-factor in the current war on drugs. According to a Fortune report, Kelly said that the nation’s biggest drug issues stem from other, harder substances.

When asked in a Meet the Press interview how the spread of cannabis legalization might affect federal drug enforcement, Kelly told NBC News’ Chuck Todd that, “Marijuana is not a factor in the drug war.”

“It’s three things,” Kelly said. “Methamphetamine, almost all produced in Mexico. Heroin, virtually all produced in Mexico. And cocaine that comes up from further south.”

Kelly suggested the solution to illegal drug use in the U.S. is not arresting drug users; instead, he called for implementing a “comprehensive drug demand reduction program … that involves every man and woman of goodwill.”

Kelly’s words could come as a relief for legalized states following several months spent wondering how the Trump Administration might interact with the legal cannabis industry. Despite running for the presidency on a platform of reducing government control and being a political outsider, President Trump continues to appoint career politicians who are established prohibitionists.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is an outspoken marijuana critic who said last month that cannabis is only “slightly less awful” than heroin, though Sessions suggested that he is unlikely to make significant changes to the federal government’s current marijuana enforcement strategies.

Last week, the Trump Administration tabbed prohibitionist Pennsylvania Rep. Tom Marino for the position of drug czar. Marino is expected to resign from his post in Congress and — if confirmed by Congress — will head up the Office of National Drug Policy.

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