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Radical Rant: Even President Trump & AG Christie Can’t Kill Legalization

Donald Trump, Chris Christie
Photo by Getty Images

There is a much concern within the cannabis community about the possibility of Donald Trump actually winning the presidency. Within that consideration is also the nightmare possibility of an Attorney General Chris Christie. While “The Donald” has been as wishy-washy on pot policy as he is on any policy, except building a wall, Chris Christie is one of the most consistent foes of marijuana in the country.

So what would happen to marijuana legalization under a Trump/Christie Department of Justice?

Simple—all the legal states would become just like Washington, D.C.

The federal government enforces the Controlled Substances Act, which is the law that makes marijuana illegal as a Schedule I drug. That law is backed up by the federal government’s enumerated powers to regulate the commerce between states. And thanks to the Gonzales v. Raich decision, it doesn’t even matter if the marijuana is for personal use and never sold, the feds have the power to keep it illegal.

But what the federal government cannot do is force a state to enforce federal laws.

If an Attorney General Chris Christie decided he wanted to shut down marijuana legalization, he could file federal injunctions to prevent the commercial cultivation and sales of marijuana. He could invalidate all the licensing provided by the legal states to the commercial entities in cannabis production, processing, testing and retailing. Those all fall under the federal commerce clause powers.

But he would be unable to force Colorado, Oregon, Washington or Alaska police to arrest people for possession and cultivation of cannabis. Essentially, we’d end up like Washington, D.C.’s “grow and give” system, where it would be legal to grow, possess and give marijuana to one another, but not buy or sell it (*wink wink, nudge nudge*).

Keep in mind that if there should be an Attorney General Christie, he’d be reacting not only to four currently legal states, but also the possibility of five more legal states, which would include California. Those states would never get their commercial systems running, but their legalization of possession and cultivation would still hold.

Oh, sure, AG Christie could order the DEA to go around busting personal home cultivators, but their time is going to be dominated by serving raid warrants against commercial operators throughout the West. Nothing is going to stop the people in the legal states (except Washington) from cultivating their own cannabis.

With no threat of harassment or punishment for cultivating and possessing, the marijuana black market will flourish. The crime associated with black markets will increase. The local governments accustomed to reaping marijuana tax revenue will make drastic cuts. The horrible optics of medical marijuana being shutdown nationwide, with thousands of patients and caregivers protesting, will become ubiquitous on social media and the evening news.

Oddly enough, a President Trump/AG Christie could increase support for marijuana legalization by providing such a drastic example of what happens without legal marijuana markets. Before legalization, people just accepted the status quo of prohibition. Now that tokers and non-tokers have experienced shopping in dispensaries—and how that reduces crime, improves neighborhoods and increases the economy—going back to a prohibition economy with legal personal use will be unacceptable.

But just to be sure, let’s not ever find out. Don’t vote for Donald Trump.

Last week’s Radical Rant: The Zombies Are Coming! The Zombies Are Coming!

18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Avatar

    William Charles Cross

    July 20, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    Nicely put, as always. As if one needed another reason to vote against the rumpster…

  2. Avatar

    Jean Geill

    July 20, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    Amen to that!

  3. Avatar

    Pieter Bremmen

    July 20, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    they could offer financial incentives to states to arrest growers and dispensaries.

  4. Avatar

    Shadar

    July 20, 2016 at 10:51 pm

    Agree totally on your last. But I think it could be worse than you say. Pushing all grow/sales back underground will jam the prison pipeline back full, although I guess if most of those were Latino or black that would make Trump’s minions happy.

    A big step toward making the US social and govermental structure closer to Somalia. It might also make it worth while to study up on the threshold criteria to be classified a “failed state”.

  5. Avatar

    Harry Anslinger

    July 21, 2016 at 10:18 am

    Regardless of who occupies the White House, we’re not going backwards. We’ll go underground and overgrow the government if we have to, but the cannabis genie is out of the bottle.

  6. Avatar

    Sinsibility

    July 21, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    Like Willie Nelson says, “If you arrest and lock me up, when I get out I’m going to smoke a joint on my way home.”

  7. Avatar

    Dot

    July 22, 2016 at 1:19 am

    Yeah, pot laws were never enforced under Bill Clinton.

  8. Avatar

    Andrew Louis John

    July 22, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    Even though I’m Canadian, I hate these two fuckers. I don’t understand how Trump can actually have a chance of winning. Anybody in the states that supports ending prohibition, vote for Bernie.

    • Avatar

      Gedoff Mylon

      July 24, 2016 at 12:10 pm

      I would agree with you… except Hillery has the nomination locked up.

      It’s time to upset the chessboard.

      Trump 2016

      • Avatar

        Tom R

        July 24, 2016 at 3:52 pm

        Throw the GD table over!

  9. Avatar

    Nobody

    July 22, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    Pot heads….Unite damnit. Go on a weed fast. set a date and everyone go to the police station and demand to be arrested, pot in hand…….or change the law and release the ones arrested. OR FAST…..No weed smoking until they change the law. ZERO. Let Pharaoh make bricks without straw and the money he makes of of it. You pussies will continue to whine. whine to me and I will slap you in your pussy face

  10. Avatar

    AngelHorseMomMD223

    July 23, 2016 at 11:01 am

    This is quite a load of garbage based on hypothetical scenarios. If any sitting president including the one currently occupying the White House wanted to… That’s the story. There’s a demonization campaign that’s been run for so long against anyone who deviates from the thought plantation that is the DNC that no one even questions the narrative anymore. Expand your mind, find out why its a bad idea to vote for those advocating big government instead of embracing the constant smears of the conservative libertarian movement without even questioning it’s validity of their ideas

    • Avatar

      Gedoff Mylon

      July 24, 2016 at 12:12 pm

      Exactly.

      Trump may tax weed, but that will be the extent of it.

      • Avatar

        Tom R

        July 24, 2016 at 3:51 pm

        Trump’s a pragmatist.

    • Avatar

      Tom R

      July 24, 2016 at 3:50 pm

      Trump knows pot isn’t what ailes this country, and will not waste his mandate going to war with Ca,Wa,Or,Co,Ak. He doesn’t believe those states are the problems to be solved. get real.

  11. Avatar

    Gedoff Mylon

    July 24, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    >>>”But just to be sure, let’s not ever find out. Don’t vote for Donald Trump.”

    That is, unfortunately, not a viable option. The alternative is another 8 years of creeping plutocracy, at which point there will be no going back. We will all be Owned.

    This could also happen under Trump. but it is a certainty under Hillery.

    I’m betting that much of The Donald’s ravings are simply to get the RWNJ Base in line. He will throw them border security, including anti-Muslim actions, but I also have a feeling that he is gonna stick it to the plutocrats. (Based on just his stated tax policy, with increased deductible, the ONLY source of the money to pay for all that will be the pockets of the uber-rich (who are also a conveniently small number of people).

    We are living in some nasty times.

    But right now, it is time to toke up another bowl of Chocolate Thunder/Blue Diesel mix.

    Trump 2016.

  12. Avatar

    Tom R

    July 24, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    The author doesn’t understand the method to Trump’s seeming madness and appeal. his message is extreme anti status quo. status quo is providing many in Washington a pretty fat living at our expense.

  13. Avatar

    Tom R

    July 24, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    Human nature says people whether in the public sector or the private one, will always consider their own self interest first. It’s human nature for most.

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