Mixed Messages From The White House Leave Cannabis Businesses In The Dark
Donald Trump has been the President for more than 100 days and we still have no idea what the administration’s intentions are when it comes to marijuana. During his campaign, Trump stated that the country needed medical marijuana, however, in his short time in office he has shown repeatedly that he is willing to go back on campaign promises. To add to the confusion, Trump signed his trillion dollar budget into law which in effect, protects medical marijuana states by eliminating funding to go after them. Before the ink was dry, however, Trump stated that he would continue to enforce federal law and may even look into reprisals for states who legalize.
From the onset, marijuana businesses should have had every reason to fear a Trump presidency. The biggest indicator that the administration would target marijuana legal states was the appointment of Jeff Sessions to the position of Attorney General. Sessions has long criticized marijuana, going as far as to state that “good people don’t smoke marijuana.” During his confirmation hearing, Sessions would not state that he would leave marijuana businesses alone, instead doubling down on his sentiment to enforce the law. But something has happened. Actually nothing has happened, to be more specific. No order of increased enforcement has gone to the DEA for the purposes of marijuana enforcement, and Trump’s new budget appears to keep it that way.
The Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment has protected medical marijuana states by specifically stating that funds provided to the DEA will not be used to interfere with the rights of states who have passed medical marijuana laws. The amendment has been passed every year since 2014. Unfortunately it does not protect recreational marijuana businesses, leaving states like Colorado and California scrambling to pass laws that would change the status of all recreational producers to medical if a federal crackdown becomes imminent.
For the time being, the Trump administration seems to have its hands too full with internal scandals and war in seven countries to turn its attention on marijuana. Jeff Sessions has even made statements alluding to the fact that they are too bust with other issues to interfere with marijuana for the time being. It’s the “for the time being” part that should keep marijuana business owners on edge. The random statements made by Trump and Sessions, combined with lack of action thus far has many speculating that Trump does not have a concrete marijuana policy. In all likelihood, Trump doesn’t care one way or the other. Odds are he will do what the political pressure being applied to him at the time tells him to do.
Whatever the Trump administration chooses to do, or not do, both the states and individual business owners need to prepare for the worst. The new budget is the only piece of legislation Trump has been able to get through, leaving all of his other initiatives blocked by judicial process. If Trump decides to set his focus on marijuana, he is in store for one hell of a battle. The marijuana lobby in the US is growing every day, which is probably the only thing that has held Trump at bay thus far.
Cory Hughes is a former police officer turned cannabis cultivator and writer. After years of being on the wrong side of the law, Cory decided to hang up his badge and gun and move into an industry that truly has the potential of bringing people together. He has been an active part of the Colorado cannabis culture and has worked as a horticulturist in dozens of licensed grow operations. Cory now looks to share his knowledge of cultivation and horticulture with the world.