Will Trump Change the Marijuana Industry?
Love him or hate him, President Trump will now be able to help or hurt the legal marijuana systems in place around the USA. Beyond his very scary pick for Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, what could happen?
Each President in modern history has been asked the questions about Cannabis and its place in the country. Campaign answers are often different from elected comment. During the election season, politicians are more likely to ride the fence and give a response to appease all sides. Once elected, this often swings to one side or another. But, this president will face a louder and more direct conversation dealing with weed around the nation. More than half the states in the USA have some positive use laws, on the books, in regards to using cannabis. At this point, eight states have enacted recreational laws, allowing adults the ability to use marijuana without a medical need.
Right now, the Cole Memo protects the system. This memo is a budgetary clause that states, no federal funding will be used to go after state laws regarding cannabis use. The Cole Memo will expire in April if not renewed with the budget. What does it mean if it goes away? If the Cole memo goes away, this allows the new attorney general the funding to shut down legal states and prosecute those people involved. At this point, most people would not be prosecuted, but would lose their business, property, and livelihood; primarily being prosecuted by persecution. The president would likely ask the AG to go after cannabis or not; this decision would not be left to just the office of the AG.
Will this happen? Probably not, as the money being made through legality is greater than the money made by the govt through prosecution and property forfeiture. The feds want to make money and keep the control. Another option for the new administration is to leave it alone and do nothing, let the states work it out, as they have been. Polls show that most Americans favor some type of marijuana use in each state. The Trump administration may find that leaving it alone is the best for the system to move forward. If this happens, the states that are currently setting up systems will be allowed to do so. The parts of the country that have had systems in place for awhile will be able to continue to grow and change.
Lastly, the opportunity to be bold and dramatic is on the table. President Trump seems to like to be popular and in the cool kids club. This option could work for the national cannabis market. With one stroke of the pen, Trump could legalize marijuana across the country. He could remove the scheduling status and allow for this plant to be more widely used across the nation. All presidents have had this power, but none have used it. This could be the president to make the changes needed to bring cannabis freedom to the nation.
If this last option is used, Trump will secure himself popularity with the smoking class, never seen before. The question remains to be answered, but this soon into his presidency, being popular to the nation as a whole, is a seemingly important part of the conversation. Let us hope this happens, and cannabis can finally come out of the closet.