The Cannabis Industry Holds Its Breath
President Donald Trump has taken a public stand on cannabis for the first time since taking office. During his short time in office much of the cannabis industry has been holding their breath. On the campaign trail and in previous years, Trump expressed pro-medical marijuana sentiments, though he has come out against recreational marijuana. He has also packed his cabinet full of anti-marijuana crusaders like our new Attorney General Jeff Sessions. In addition Sean Spicer, the current White House Press Secretary, gave an impression that there may be a crackdown on recreational cannabis in the near future. All this said, there has actually been some positive news and some indication that a crackdown is not looming.
In the recent bill created to continue the funding of the government until the end of the fiscal year on September 30th, the government voted to extend the Rohrabacher – Farr bill in the form of the Rohrabacher – Blumenauer amendment. The Rohrabacher – Farr bill was originally introduced in 2014 by a bipartisan team of California legislators to end the allocation of funds to government entities for the prosecuting of medical marijuana companies in states where medical cannabis has become legal.
Federal Funds Not Used for Medical Crackdown
President Donald Trump issued a statement after the passing of the bill saying, "Division B, section 537 provides that the Department of Justice may not use any funds to prevent implementation of medical marijuana laws by various States and territories. I will treat this provision consistently with my constitutional responsibility to take care that the laws be faithfully executed."
The continuation of the bill shows the support of the legislature for medical marijuana, though it does leave many holes and may leave some industry insiders scratching their heads. Though it is a positive step, and does protect the medical industries that are present in twenty nine states across the United States, many people in the cannabis industry are still trepidatious because of the early deadline which has been put on the bill. The bill only lasts through September 30th, so there is still a possibility of a looming crackdown on recreational and medical marijuana. The bill provides no protection for recreational cannabis industry which have become profitable in a number of states.
Non Confrontational… Yet Vague
The Trump administration has yet to take a strong, concrete step to deregulate cannabis from Schedule 1 as well as make cannabis federally legal. This recent move, however, has followed along the pattern that the Trump administration has established regarding cannabis. The administration has taken a relatively non-confrontational approach, but has overall kept the industry in suspense, some may say purposefully.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently met with Colorado governor John Hickenlooper, and other governors from states with legal recreational marijuana markets. In a closed meeting in April Sessions indicated that it was not a priority for the Justice Department to prosecute state sanctioned marijuana businesses. This uneasy peace shows an uncertain future for the industry. However, the Trump administration will be in a very difficult place if they attempt to go after state approved marijuana industries, because it would go against the opinions of the majority of Americans who voted for legal medical and or recreational access.