Following Donald Trump’s recent election win, you may be wondering what this will mean for the future of marijuana legalization. Will President-elect Trump stand in the way of progress? Will he move the process along?
The biggest fear is that he may not only impede future progress, but turn back the clock, undoing significant advances and returning the US to how things were before this progress was initiated. Political experts and marijuana Experts all over the country are weighing in on this matter. Let’s peek at what they are saying and see if it matches your own sentiments.
Trump’s Thoughts on Marijuana
In an online article on November 9th, 2016 the Washington Post quoted Ethan Nadelmann as saying, “The prospect of Donald Trump as our next president concerns me greatly. His most likely appointees to senior law enforcement positions — Rudy Giuliani and Chris Christie — are no friends of marijuana reform, nor is his vice president.” We know now that his current pick for Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, is even worse than we thought in terms of marijuana legalization. He was once quoted as saying he thought the KKK we ok guys until he found out they smoked ‘pot.’
Nadelmann, executive of the Drug Policy Alliance, appears to be worried that the federal government will start interfering in state laws regarding marijuana legalization. Under the current administration, the Justice Department has been in favor of a hands-off approach pretty much instructing the federal government to stay out of the state’s business.
Nadelmann adds, “I don’t think we’re going to have quite the same green light coming out of the new administration.”
Trump vs The Party Line
As a Republican, will President-elect Trump follow the majority of his party and vote against legalization or will he follow the values of his party, and stay out of the state’s business? That is a question only time will tell. Not everyone is so sure that he will squash the progress that is currently being made. In the same article, Democratic Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon wondered if Trump would “go against millions of supporters, against states’ rights, against where the public is?… It would be the beginning of tremendous problems for the Trump administration that they don’t need.”
Tom Angell agrees. Angell is the chairman of Marijuana Majority. In an article, also dated November 9th, 2016, The Cannabist quotes Angell as saying: “President-Elect Trump has clearly and repeatedly pledged to respect state marijuana laws, and we fully expect him to follow through on those promises, not only because it is the right thing to do but also because these reforms are broadly supported by a growing majority of voters. Reversing course and going against the tide of history would present huge political problems that the new administration does not need.”
That sounds like good news for the marijuana industry, both the producers and the consumers, but it is important to remember that if Trump keeps his word to Angell then he would be going against much of his party.
Trump has repeatedly said that he will respect state’s rights to create their own laws regarding the legalization of marijuana. This may, in fact, go against most of his party. Trump is not afraid of going against his party, however, which we all saw during election season.
The Republican party has always firmly believed in states taking care of whatever issues it was possible for them to manage independently and that federal government should stay out of state issues. So, even though he may be going against the people in his party on this issue, Trump is standing firm on Republican principles. It is an interesting conundrum.
Will Trump See the Potential of the Marijuana Industry?
Another positive point to remember is that Trump is, at heart, a business man. Everywhere marijuana is legalized, either medically or recreationally, money is being made. When states tax the plant, they draw in huge revenues.
It’s worth noting that Trump may not know what he will do now. On 29 October 15, he was quoted by the Washington Post as saying “In terms of marijuana and legalization, I think that should be a state issue, state-by-state. … Marijuana is such a big thing. I think medical should happen — right? Don’t we agree? I think so. And then I really believe we should leave it up to the states.” However, he has made no mention of change on a federal level.
Most proponents of legalizing marijuana are likely to be hoping that he will accept the status quo.
Continued work is required on a state level. If you are not fortunate enough to live in a “legal” state, it will be especially needed for you to get out there and spread the word. Push for change. Most importantly, when the time comes, do not fail to exercise your right to vote.