As the marijuana industry continues to blossom with the addition of new states legalizing recreational and medical marijuana this week, it’s estimated that 1 in 5 Americans now live somewhere that has legalized marijuana for either recreational or medical use. But industry experts believe that with Trump in office the future of marijuana reform is uncertain.
Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance said, “The prospect of Donald Trump as our next president concerns me deeply. His most likely appointees to senior law enforcement positions – Rudy Guiliani and Chris Christie – are no friends of marijuana reform, nor is his vice president,” reports The Washington Post.
Rob Kampia of Marijuana Policy Project said, “This is the most momentous Election Day in history for the movement to end marijuana prohibition. The end of prohibition is near, and it would be a mistake for the federal government to continue waging war on its own nonviolent citizens. How do you ask a DEA agent to be the last man to enforce a mistake?”
The Justice Department acknowledged, in the Cole memo of 2013, that most drug enforcement is carried out by state and local authorities. The adopting of legislation in 2013 by President Obama reads that the federal government will not interfere with state marijuana laws. Prosecutorial discretion shall still be used if states fail to uphold federal priorities regarding marijuana such as keeping it out of the reach of children and drugged driving.
John Hudak of Brookings Institute said, “A lot of people forget that [recreational marijuana markets in] Colorado and Washington were pretty much on hold until the governors there received guidance from the Department of Justice.”
Nadelmann agreed with Hudak by saying, “I don’t think we’re going to have quite the same green light coming out of the new administration.”
Trump can withdraw the Cole memo if he so chooses, which would allow federal intrusion on state marijuana policies.
Hudak said, “It could have a chilling effect on the willingness of states to move forward with the creation of these systems. It could also have a pretty chilling effect on investment in marijuana businesses.”
Earl Blumenauer said, “Go against millions of supporters, against states’ rights, against where the public is? It would be the beginning of tremendous problems for the Trump administration that they don’t need.”
Blumenauer says that people just need to be patient and see what happens. Smart Approaches to Marijuana led the nation’s anti-marijuana group, it’s executive director Kevin Sabet said, “We still plan to stop legalization. I am feeling (strangely, maybe) optimistic. We won in Arizona. The overarching lesson was that if we could raise enough money early, we can win. Arizona was the only state where we were toe-to-toe with the ‘yes’ side, and it’s the only state we started early in.”
Trump has previously stated that marijuana issues should be handled at the state level.