Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas has again criticized President Barack Obama for not overriding state marijuana laws.
In an interview with the libertarian magazine Reason published Monday, Cruz said he supported an “intelligent conversation” about drug policy.
“I will say one thing that’s been dismaying about the Obama administration,” he continued. “The Obama administration’s approach to drug policy is to simply announce that across the country, it is going to stop enforcing certain drug laws. Now, that may or may not be a good policy, but I would suggest that should concern anyone — it should even concern libertarians who support that policy outcome — because the idea that the president simply says criminal laws that are on the books, we’re going to ignore [them]. That is a very dangerous precedent.”
Voters in Colorado and Washington state approved ballot measures to legalize marijuana in 2012, but federal law still prohibits the possession and sale of the drug. The U.S. Justice Department, however, announced it would not seek to overturn the new state laws and would only intervene in a narrow set of circumstances, such as when drugs were being sold to minors.
Cruz said Obama overstepped his authority by refusing to prosecute marijuana users and sellers in Colorado and Washington state. Only Congress could enact such a policy, he argued.
“Anyone who is concerned about liberty should be concerned about the notion that this president over and over again has asserted the right to pick and choose what laws to follow,” Cruz said. “That is fundamentally dangerous to the liberty of the people. The concept of the rule of law doesn’t just mean you’ve got lots of laws, just about every society has laws, and indeed dictatorships typically suffer from an abundance of laws. What rule of law means is that we are a nation of laws, not of men, that no man is above the law, and especially not the president.”
At a rally in January, Cruz attacked Obama for not arresting people in Colorado who violated federal law by using marijuana.
“These are criminal laws, these are laws that say if you do ‘X, Y, and Z’ you will go to prison. The president announced, ‘No, you won’t,’” he remarked.
Watch video, uploaded to YouTube, below.