Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs penned a letter to President Donald Trump on Monday, asking for clarity on his administration’s plan for federal enforcement in states with medical marijuana programs, like Illinois.
Last month, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said states should expect “greater enforcement” of federal laws prohibiting marijuana use, but the administration hasn’t clarified whether the crackdown applies to states with legal medical cannabis programs.
“Medical marijuana is not for everyone,” Frerichs said in a statement. “If the Trump administration seeks greater enforcement, then it should clearly define what this means so hard-working people in Illinois can make informed decisions.”
“Vague statements undermining medical marijuana violate commonsense and only serve to hurt the people who have pursued this treatment as a last resort,” he added.
Federal law currently prohibits banks from processing money from legal marijuana businesses, although the previous administration chose not to prioritize enforcement of the industry.
In his role as treasurer, Frerichs is responsible for receiving revenues and other public monies from the state, which includes licensing, fees, and tax payments from the medical marijuana industry. In his letter to Trump, he asked for more information about the issue.
“At this time, I request your administration provide substantive clarification and guidance on the receipt and remittance of such funds, whether cash, checks, or electronic payments deposited by state governments and medical cannabis firms in a financial institution,” Frerichs wrote to Trump.
“Not only will this guidance foster economic development in a fledgling industry, it also will ensure continued medical treatment for constituents in pain and suffering,” he added.
Frerichs wrote a similar letter to President Trump in January, days after the Republican’s inauguration. He has yet to receive a response.
According to the treasurer’s office, Frerichs is concerned that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has called marijuana “dangerous” and criticized former President Barack Obama’s for not being tough enough on enforcement. He worries that Sessions could reverse Obama’s directive and begin federally prioritizing marijuana cases.