Last week, President Trump told reporters that he “probably would” support legislation that prevents federal prosecutors from pursuing criminal cases related to marijuana. If passed, the Elizabeth Warren introduced bill would leave legal decisions related regarding marijuana to the states. Marijuana is currently legalized recreationally in 9 states and the District of Columbia.
If this bill were to pass, it would be a huge blow to Trump’s own Attorney General who has been a staunch opponent of marijuana legalization. Sessions has called pot “only slightly less awful” than heroin and even taken steps to allow federal prosecutors to pursue marijuana cases in states where the drug is legal.
Should this legislation pass through Congress and be signed by the President, the marijuana industry will have the freedom to blossom as it already has in states like Colorado. At this point in time, marijuana is illegal at the federal level, but if Warren’s pot bill passes that would mean that legal weed is here to stay. The new legislation could and likely would influence many other states to write up legalization in their state.
We shouldn’t expect much change from states like South Dakota and Iowa where marijuana laws are more aggressive. But liberal states like New York where marijuana is already decriminalized and New Jersey where Governor Phil Murphy is already expected to roll out legalization laws could expedite their pursuit of legal weed. With no pressure from the feds, marijuana dispensaries could flourish nationwide.
Last year, in the 29 states where marijuana is legal on at least a medicinal level, the Cannabis industry created 121,000 jobs and that number is expected to more than double by 2021 according to a report by the North Bay Business Journal. The marijuana industry’s growth has created a better market for employment than the declining coal industry. American industry and American job creation have been a key talking point for Trump since he started his campaign in 2015. If the President fought for soft federal oversight of the industry, as President Obama did, it could really be his greatest economic win.
On the flip side, in the experimental state of Colorado where marijuana was legalized in 2014, Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman told CBS News that a “black market still exists” where marijuana is being illegally shipped across state lines. Coffman calls the experiment “somewhere between a great success and absolute failure.”
In fairness, the “black market” that Coffman speaks of could prove deadly or at least extremely problematic for the pot industry. Already there have been cases of people smuggling large amounts of marijuana into illegal states similar to how states with lax gun laws transport weapons into states where gun laws are more strict.
Under a Democratic President, marijuana smuggling across state lines could result in fine tuning federal pot laws to an extent whereas under a President Trump, if this issue balloons too much under his presidency we could see more extreme measures that would damage the industry.
President Trump and the Alabama Senator turned A.G. have been at odds ever since Sessions recused himself from the FBI’s investigation into Trump’s 2016 campaign and possible collusion with Russia.
Early in Trump’s presidency, Sessions as the Nation’s top lawyer recused himself from the investigation when the FBI found that Sessions had been in contact with Russian officials during the time of the campaign. This decision angered President Trump and eventually led him to bash his own Attorney General on Twitter on multiple occasions going as far as to say that he wished he chose someone else for the job.
Whether or not Trump will reach the level of pettiness to side with his rival, Elizabeth Warren, over his own Attorney General is unknown at the time, but Trump’s own words seem to confirm that he is capable of that level of shadiness.