There is a new meaning to the phrase “puff, puff, pass.” As more consumers become open to puffing on cannabis, we continue to see more states pass effective marijuana reform.
In 2019, the marijuana movement has taken the country by storm as both the states and the federal government push towards further regulation for the growing American cannabis industry. Even though the cannabis communities were shaking in their boots as the Trump Administration took office, our Nation’s statewide marijuana markets have grown exponentially with Trump in the White House.
Nevertheless, Trump’s view on marijuana is inconsistent, and his administration varies quite a bit on the topic. What does that mean for the future of marijuana in our nation?
Marijuana Reform Leading Up to the Trump Administration
Let’s go back in time and take a look at what the Trump Administration thought about marijuana reform, before winning the election.
Marijuana reform, on a federal level, was not a primary point of concern for the presidential candidates at the time. While many believe the Democrats are the face of marijuana reform in our nation, it’s actually common for Democratic candidates also to overlook the discussion of marijuana reform, even when given the platform.
During the Obama Administration, marijuana reform received very little limelight at the federal level. Nevertheless, the Obama Administration did not leave office without implementing minor marijuana protections to protect legalized states from the federal crosshairs. While it did nothing to clarify the federal stance, it did establish that the federal government would not interfere with legal state programs.
Even throughout the presidential election, both parties refrained from discussing major marijuana reform. Rather than take a risk, the political game always takes precedent.
The few statements that Trump made regarding marijuana do not give much insight into what Trump’s view on marijuana really entails.
Trump's View on Marijuana During the Campaign
On the campaign trail in 2015, Donald Trump made a brief announcement about his approach to marijuana reform, stating:
“The marijuana thing is such a big thing. I think medical should happen ? right? Don’t we agree? I think so...I think that should be a state issue, state-by-state.”
Trump’s view on marijuana initially seemed to be rather hands-off. Instead of establishing any true position against, or for, marijuana reform, Trump seemed to believe it was up to the states to determine its marijuana laws. His opinion quickly changed in 2016 when asked about recreational marijuana, announcing:
“I say it’s bad. Medical marijuana is another thing, but I think [recreational marijuana] it’s bad. And I feel strongly about that.”
Even though he was all for allowing states to determine their own marijuana laws in 2015, it took just one year for Trump to contradict himself.
Throughout the rest of the campaign, it was rare for Trump to discuss marijuana reform. Even when pressed on the topic, the responses given maintained a middle ground for his campaign.
Fast forward to today, and Trump’s view on marijuana is practically the same; however, Trump now has the opportunity to go down in history as the marijuana president.
The Trump Administration and Marijuana
When Trump first took office, the marijuana community was uncertain as to how the Trump Administration would approach marijuana reform. Granted, Trump didn’t exactly put a strong foot forward when he appointed Jeff Sessions as his Attorney General.
Right off the bat, Jeff Sessions was openly for marijuana prohibition. It was apparent that marijuana reform was not going anywhere during this administration. While the legalized states were worried about the future of their programs, there has been minimal backlash on the established markets to date.
Sessions attempted to battle the established marijuana programs by removing the protections put in place under the Obama era, known as the Cole Memorandum. It was quickly made right by the federal government, and Jeff Sessions was recently released from his duties as Attorney General.
2018 was a big year for marijuana as more and more states continue to take cannabis reform into their own hands. There are now ten states plus D.C. that have recreational marijuana programs. Over half of the nation has medical marijuana programs, and a majority have some sort of marijuana decriminalization.
Aside from the legalization of marijuana, Trump passed historical reform for industrial hemp. The 2018 Hemp Farm Bill removed hemp and CBD from the Controlled Substances Act and will establish effective regulations on the hemp industry. Not only is this remarkable progress for hemp itself, but federal drug reform to this extent drastically opens the door for further marijuana reform.
What to Expect from the Trump Administration in 2019?
It’s 2019, and the American people want federal marijuana reform. Too many states are legalizing or decriminalizing some form of marijuana for the federal government to keep its head turned. The gray area between state and federal law continues to grow which causes major confusion across the board.
As it stands today, marijuana reform is on the move in the United States, and it’s about darn time! The House recently introduced a marijuana bill to open the conversation to federal reform. H.R. Bill 420, as it reads today, would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and regulate it like alcohol. It is the first significant cannabis bill to hit the House in quite some time.
The popular theory is that President Trump will utilize marijuana legalization to drive his administration back into the White House. It makes sense. Not only would it increase his popularity and attract new followers, but it’s clear he isn’t at risk of losing his current following even with progressive marijuana reform.
The time for federal legalization is now, and it’s only a matter of time for marijuana to be accessible to all.
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