Almost 6 Months Into Trump Presidency, Little to No Effect on Marijuana Laws
It’s been almost 6 months since President Donald Trump took office, but despite a lot of fear, it’s had little to no impact on marijuana laws throughout the country.
When Donald Trump won the election for president of the United States, many in the marijuana community were worried what it might mean for state-level marijuana laws. But for many others, there was a sense of quiet optimism. After all, Trump has said before that he’s “100%” in favor of medical marijuana, and that he supports state rights. Although it was many years ago, he’s previously stated his support for legalizing all drugs.
However, it wasn’t long before fear, rightfully so, began to increase. Trump began making subtle, but certainly worrisome comments, and he hired longtime prohibitionist Jeff Sessions to be the nation’s attorney general. Despite this, nothing much has came of this fear, and there’s reason to believe it will stay this way.
Thus far, beyond talk, the only action that truly comes off as an indicator that things could go sour, is Jeff Sessions sending a letter to lawmakers urging them to not extend an amendment that prevents the feds from interfering with state level medical marijuana laws. However, even this showed a level a timidness against taking true action, and could come off as an indicator that even though the administration may oppose marijuana legalization, they won’t do much to prevent it. Sessions did no other lobbying against the amendment beyond the letter, and didn’t speak publicly against it (the letter was leaked to reporter Tom Angell). Congress went on to reauthorize the amendment. It’s very likely Trump realizes the political fallout that may occur if they attack state marijuana laws, and is holding Sessions back from doing so (though Trump did leave open the possibility of ignoring the amendment that protects medical marijuana laws).
Whenever Trump or Sessions have made an anti-marijuana remark, the blowback has been swift and loud, with Sessions himself stating in April that he’s been “surprised” that Americans aren’t embracing his anti-marijuana positions. Because of this, Sessions may never get the chance to shutdown state marijuana laws, as he would clearly like to do.
The Trump Administration’s anti-cannabis rhetoric also hasn’t prevented lawmakers from embracing reform on the national level. In February a bipartisan group of lawmakers launched the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, and multiple pro-marijuana measure have been introduced. In the meantime, legal marijuana sales recently began in Nevada, the fifth state where anyone 21 and older can purchase cannabis (with sales beginning in three more states by next year).
All of this said, no one truly knows what will happen in the coming days and months; the Trump Administration could announce tomorrow that they’re starting a federal crackdown on state marijuana laws. But most likely, this will never happen.