If you’re trying to keep up with the Trump administration’s most current political leanings, then likely… your head is spinning. From campaign promises of “lock her up” to “Mexico will pay for it”, Mr. Trump has been inconsistent in his messages across the board.
Unfortunately, this inconsistency extends to marijuana regulations as well. As recent as November of last year, during campaigning, Donald Trump fully supported medical marijuana use while suggesting individual states to decide their own fate regarding recreational use. But my how the tides have turned.
Expect More Federal Government Enforcement
When it comes to marijuana enforcement, CNN states, “Most drug enforcement operations are carried out by state and local authorities, with little involvement by the federal government. Enforcing marijuana laws has been considered a lower priority for federal drug agents, who have remained focused on curbing narcotics trafficking and combating a nationwide epidemic of opioid abuse”. This is a direct result stemming from Obama’s stance that cracking down on legal marijuana use is low priority as there are “bigger fish to fry”.
However, Trump’s administration is now showing signs of conflict with this ideology. Last week, White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, offered an anxiety-inducing comment regarding states with legalized marijuana. He stated such states should expect “greater enforcement” under the Trump administration.
What Does Greater Enforcement Mean?
So what can we expect? Does greater enforcement mean an eventual and complete shutdown of legalized marijuana – medical and recreational? Or does it mean increased business regulations? Or does it mean stronger federal involvement regarding marijuana education?
While it’s too early to tell – and impossibly difficult to predict Trump’s actual intentions – the message regarding legalized medical marijuana use has not changed. Trump still fully supports the use of medical marijuana to help those suffering from illness and/or chronic pain. But when it comes to legalized recreational marijuana use, this is where the suggestion of “state run” no longer comes to play.
Spicer made pointed comments regarding recreational use, comparing cannabis to opioid addiction. Specifically, “When you see something like the opioid addiction crisis blossoming around so many states … the last thing we should be doing is encouraging people… There is still a federal law we need to abide by in terms of when it comes to recreational marijuana and other drugs of that nature.” – LA Times.
His suggestion is clear, Mr. Trump intends to crackdown on recreational marijuana use and distribution. This could mean federal raids of dispensaries – a practice currently prohibited by the Obama administration. It could mean increased federal agent activity, in states with legalized recreational use, to help prevent the distribution of marijuana to minors. It could mean stronger efforts to stop the transportation of the drug across state lines. It really could mean anything as mild as increased federal efforts to educate the public about cannabis, to something as wild as prohibiting any and all legal recreational use and sale. We’re guessing the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
Only time will tell what “greater enforcement” really means. But in the meantime, businesses and pot-users alike are unsurprisingly growing anxious about the fate of legalized marijuana.