Published: Wed, April 19, 2017
Money | By Oscar Reynolds

Kelly says critical lawmakers should changes laws or shut up

Kelly says critical lawmakers should changes laws or shut up

Kelly then went on to explain that the three drugs, in conjunction with opioids, were responsible for claiming the lives of over 50,000 people in 2015, a problem that cost the nation $250 billion. Marijuana has been at the heart of the drug war since marijuana became prohibited.

Speaking with Chuck Todd Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press, Kelly said heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine are the three substances authorities should be tackling.

Kelly said it will be up to Congress to help sort out how to treat the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the USA, including the so-called "Dream Act" children brought illegally into the country by their parents or guardians. It marks an evolution from statements Kelly made a year ago, when he said the "hypocrisy" of legalizing pot in the USA could make efforts to combat drug production overseas more hard. "And then getting at the poppy fields and the coca fields in the south", he continued.

Kelly's support for drug rehabilitation falls squarely in line with the "second chances" strategy the preceding Obama administration began leaning towards by providing fairer sentences for low-level drug offenders. In a post-legalization world, he wouldn't be able to use marijuana prohibition as an excuse to get around pesky constitutional rights.

Kelly added he has long considered himself a crusader against illegal, deadly drugs even as a four-star Marines general and now as DHS Secretary - two places that historically do not battle the drug war. Most deportations have been centered on high-profile crimes such as rape and murder. Although Kelly's stance on legalizing weed matches that of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the latter is considerably more hardline and said in a speech last month that marijuana is "slightly less awful" than heroin.

It's relatively easy for immigrants to find themselves in deportation proceedings because of pot possession. Are the laws on the books hard to enforce and they need to be changed? Immigrants could also buy marijuana in states like Colorado and Washington and transport it to another state that has not eased its marijuana laws. In the first three months of the Trump administration, 54,741 immigrants have been deported, a 1.2 percent drop compared to the same period previous year.

During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump floated the idea of using a "deportation force" to remove undocumented immigrants from the country, but Kelly has pushed back on that language. An interview with Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly on Meet the Press yesterday appeared to open up at least a philosophical rift between two key national-security Cabinet officials on the threat from global marijuana trafficking.

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