U.S.: What Does Trump Presidency Mean For The Marijuana Industry?
By Derrick Stanley
Whether or not you were a supporter for a Donald Trump presidency, everyone wonders what his presidency will mean for his or her beliefs. Marijuana users and supporters wonder how his presidency will affect the marijuana industry.
Election Day 2016 marked a big win for marijuana. Residents voted in nine different states on legalizing some form of marijuana. Five of those states were voting on whether or not to allow recreational use. Eight of those nine states passed their legalization measures, with only Arizona's recreational measure not passing.
California was the largest state to legalize it, making recreational use legal for adults. In addition to California, Massachusetts, Maine, and Nevada legalized recreational marijuana use. Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota approved medical initiatives. Montana passed an additional measure to legalize commercial growing and distribution.
The Motley Fool declared marijuana a big winner on Election Day, but pointed out that how the marijuana industry could change under the Donald Trump presidency is open to a lot of interpretation. No-one knows what decisions Trump and Congress will make regarding the marijuana industry between now and January 2020.
One pledge that Trump made while he was running was that he would reschedule marijuana from its current status as a Schedule 1 substance. He said he would change it to a Schedule 2 substance or possibly something even lower.
Schedule 1 substances are federally illegal, and said to have no medical benefits but a high potential for abuse. Schedule 2 and lower substances are considered to have some medical benefits, but are still perceived to have addictive qualities.
Trump has said that he is "100 percent" in favor of medical marijuana. “Marijuana is such a big thing. I think medical should happen, right? Don’t we agree? I think so,” he said. “And then I really believe we should leave it up to the states.” If he were to legalize medical marijuana across the country, all U.S. doctors would be able to prescribe marijuana. This would also allow for more research into medical marijuana.
Rescheduling marijuana could backfire, allowing the FDA to come in and regulate marijuana. It would give them free range to regulate grow farms make new requirements of anyone in the growing industry.
Most in the marijuana industry are not worried. “It’s something that we’re definitely looking at, but we’re not currently concerned,” said a spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Our strategy is not going to change all that much from what I can tell. Like everyone else we have to wait and see what happens.”
The problem could turn out to be not the candidate, but the people he surrounds himself with who in the past have pledged to fight against marijuana legalization.
Rudy Guiliani and Chris Christie are possible candidates for attorney general. Former New York City Mayor Guiliani oversaw the transformation of New York City into the marijuana arrest capital, as Marijuana Majority Chairman Tom Angell puts it.
And while New Jersey Governor Christie’s fate in Trump’s government is unclear after his demotion from Trump’s transit team on Friday, he has been on record saying during his campaign: “If you’re getting high in Colorado today, enjoy it. As of January 2017, I will enforce the federal laws.”
Angell said he’s hopeful Trump’s administration will look at the issue through a reasonable lens. Polls show that about 60% of Americans support marijuana legalization. While the industry doesn’t have the support of a majority of Republicans, 41% of them support legal marijuana laws, according to Pew Research.