The news came Friday that Mike Cotter, the top federal prosecutor in Montana and an Obama appointee, has been asked to resign by Donald Trump. It was one of 46 such requests by the President. A strong-arm move for sure, but not entirely surprising and not without precedent–Bill Clinton made an identical move against all Reagan-Bush holdover US Attorneys.
President Obama should long ago have discarded Cotter. For it was Cotter who authored the infamous raids and prosecutions on medical marijuana growers in Montana. Acting on his personal belief that medical marijuana is a fiction, he directly disobeyed a series of memos from his boss, Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder, which advised federal prosecutors not to molest growers in states where medical pot was legal, so long as they were following state law. He also ignored the will of 65% of Montanans who voted for medial marijuana (twice). Cotter sent many people to jail, for many years, some of whom had simply been trying to follow the poorly written state laws on the subject and had even had their facilities inspected by state authorities. And when asked by the press why he was ignoring the Obama administration’s order, Cotter said this:
“It was just something that had to be done. It was a strong statement that marijuana wasn’t going to be tolerated in Montana. I think it’s Madison Avenue marketing, the person who dreamed up tying medical and marijuana together. It’s a powerful marketing tool. But the fact of the matter remains that marijuana is a dangerous drug and it’s harmful to people.”
So while we generally shouldn’t celebrate a move by Donald Trump, today is an exception. For every cancer patient who has ever found relief from cannabis where expensive pharmaceuticals have failed, this firing is dedicated to you.