Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Now that the circus known as the 2016 presidential election is finally over, and the American people have crowned Donald Trump the next Leader of the Free World, supporters of the marijuana legalization movement are left to wonder just how the new administration will handle all of this legal weed business when it comes time to take over the White House next year.
As of Tuesday’s election, voters in eight states and the District of Columbia have ended marijuana prohibition—making cannabis legal in a manner similar to alcohol.
What is the president-elect’s position on weed?
Like so many other Trump positions, it’s fluid, sometimes nonsensical and, most ominously, subject to change.
He has said that he is behind medical marijuana 100 percent; Recreational marijuana, he has said, should be left up to the states.
But, Colorado is “a real problem.”
President Obama said last week that federal marijuana enforcement would no longer be “tenable” with so many states legalizing adult use.
But it is possible the Trump Administration could take steps to shut down the cannabis industry at the beginning of January. That’s because there is nothing concrete about the “hands off” approach that was conjured up by the Obama Administration back in 2014. Although the Justice Department has refused to intervene with states that have legalize marijuana as long as they adhere to certain requirements, the truth is that under Federal law marijuana is still a Schedule 1 narcotic. There are simply no laws that could stop President Trump from bringing the whole scene to a screeching halt using federal enforcement.
There is some concern right now that the entire scope of the recreational marijuana sector could be in trouble, especially since reports have cited names like Chris Christie or Rudy Giuliani—both staunch opponents of marijuana—for the position of attorney general in a Trump administration..
You might remember last year, when Christie was gunning for the presidency, he said, “Marijuana is against the law in the states and it should be enforced in all 50 states… If you’re getting high in Colorado today, enjoy it. As of January 2017, I will enforce the federal laws.”
And unfortunately, an AG with distempter—an affliction that covers both Giuliani and Christie—could cause major headaches for the nascent industry just by making threatening moves against banks that have dared to provide services to business operating legally in a certain state.
So, there is a possibility that the new attorney general may attempt to influence Trump to go in for the kill. But marijuana reform experts do not seem to think that he will want to spend his first days in the Oval Office messing with the cannabis industry.
“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,” Tom Angell, chairman of the Marijuana Majority, told HIGH TIMES in a statement. “Reversing course and going against the tide of history would present huge political problems that the new administration does not need.”
The latest Gallup poll show 60 percent of the American population believe marijuana should be made legal similar to how the nation handles the alcohol industry.
“Polls continually show that most Americans support ending marijuana prohibition altogether,” Angell added “and with the new states that just enacted legalization, there’s more pressure than ever to finally change outdated federal laws. It’s clear from the results tonight that legal marijuana is much more popular with voters than the president-elect and many U.S. senators and governors are. It’s time for more politicians to start respecting the will of the voters by treating marijuana policy as the important and mainstream issue it is.”
So far, legal marijuana has contributed billions of dollars to the American economy and created thousands upon thousands of new jobs. Surely, Donald Trump can see the economic benefit to the well being of the American people and simply allow marijuana to proceed unscathed.
You can keep up with all of HIGH TIMES’ marijuana news right here.
For complete Election 2016 coverage, click here.