WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Montana’s top federal prosecutors are urging voters to vote to legalize recreational marijuana, taking the unusual step of jumping into a political debate about a ballot initiative in the weeks before the election. One must tread carefully first.
In an op-ed published in several newspapers in recent days and posted on the Justice Department website on Monday, US Attorney Kurt Alm told voters he should “review in detail” a pair of ballots Which would legalize cannabis for adults 21 and older. , Warns that marijuana is addictive, can lead to more traffic accidents and may even “increase the risk of serious complications from COVID-19.”
Smoking, whether marijuana or tobacco, may increase the risk of severe COVID-19 due to the possibility of lung inflammation.
Montana is one of five states to vote on eight initiatives to legalize marijuana for medical or recreational use this November. Dozens of other states have already legalized the drug, although marijuana is illegal under federal law.
Although in 2018, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions revoked an Obama administration policy that relaxed federal marijuana laws in the states, cannabis experts say federal prosecutors largely abandoned marijuana Is because they comply with state laws.
The Justice Department has come under intense scrutiny for some of its messaging ahead of the 2020 election, with Attorney General William Burr repeating President Donald Trump’s claims without any evidence that mail-in ballots could lead to widespread fraud is.
Some former prosecutors said they felt Alm’s decision on the state’s ballot question before the election could cross the line.
Barbara McQuade, a former attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, said, “It is very unusual and inappropriate for a US attorney to sway political questions.”
William Nettles, a former US attorney for the South Carolina district, agreed, calling it “an abuse of authority” and “unusual behavior”.
Alme’s spokesperson did not immediately comment.
(Reporting by Sarah Ann Lynch; Editing by Bill Burcott)