By Keith Mansur
Oregon Cannabis Connection
November 11, 2016 — I have read a number of opinions recently on what people think the Donald Trump administration (still trying to wrap my head around that one) will do concerning the exploding cannabis industry across America. Some cannabis reformers are urging calm and they refer back to Trump’s few passing campaign statements regarding marijuana laws to determine what he might do if elected President of the United States.
The statements he made while campaigning indicated that he was a strong supporter of states rights regarding cannabis. He seemed a bit dismissive of the question, and answered in his usual haphazard fashion, stating at one point, “I think it’s up to the states. I’m a states person. I think it should be up to the states, absolutely.”
I think taking these as anything more than a hollow campaign promise from the most hollow person ever to seek the office is naive and premature, to be certain.
If you consider the stance President Obama took in 2008, the future actions of President Trump, or any presidential candidate on cannabis, are hardly certain. At the time, Obama said he would, “not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws.”
How did that work out for hundreds of marijuana growers and dispensary owners across Oregon in 2010 and 2011? What about Washington dispensaries in 2011? There were record federal raids on “legal” marijuana establishments all across the country.
It wasn’t until the Cole Memo in August 2013 that major raids slowed down and businesses felt some reassurance they could operate without risk of arrest or prosecution. That was one of MANY memos that were issued, such as the Haag Memo, which came after the Ogden Memo, and don’t forget the other Cole memo issued in between. All these created confusion, arrests, and prosecutions of many medical marijuana businesses trying to operate under their respective state laws.
Why is a Trump presidency an even more uncertain future?
Who he surrounds himself with, that’s why. Donald Trump is ignorant about a lot of things, especially cannabis, and will rely on his advisers for policy direction. That means cannabis haters like Gov. Chris Christie and former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani will likely have a lot of influence, which is bad news for the cannabis industry. One might even be the new Attorney General of the United States…a scary thought indeed. Even his trusted medical adviser, neurosurgeon and former presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson, not only disagrees with medical marijuana, he also believes the earth is only 6,000 years old.
And, Trump has indicated recreational marijuana is a “real problem” in Colorado. How he might deal with the now nine legal recreational states in America, no one knows.
Luckily, he has indicated he is “in favor of medical marijuana 100%”, which is the most definitive statement he has made but hardly one to hang my hat on. I would say, President Donald Trump is a big unknown risk, especially when he wants to be a “law-and-order” president and surrounds himself with the conservative and ignorant advisers he does.
So, lets not reassure anyone regarding Trump’s cannabis policies to come, since we don’t know what to expect from a man that would say anything to be elected, literally. We should wait and see, and be very cautious. We have a lot to learn about Trump.
It’s going to be a long four years!
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