A number of clues suggest federal marijuana reform efforts will fall flat if Donald Trump wins the 2020 election. Says the publication.
The green rush is limited in most countries by federal regulations, and that glass ceiling is definitely in place within the United States.
With a record-tying 66% of Americans polled by Gallup favoring the nationwide legalization of pot, as of October 2019, it would seem logical that Congress and the president would look for a way to amend marijuana’s existing scheduling. But the fact is that if President Trump is reelected to a second term, the idea of cannabis reform would almost certainly be dead until he leaves office in January 2025.
If Trump is reelected, say goodbye to federal marijuana reform for four more years
For instance, Trump initially hired former Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions to be attorney general. At the time of his hiring, Sessions was arguably the most ardent opponent of cannabis legalization on Capitol Hill. The now-former attorney general even went so far as to send a letter to a handful of his congressional Republican colleagues requesting that they repeal the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, which is what protects medical marijuana businesses in legalized states from facing federal prosecution. Sessions unsuccessfully tried to infringe on state’s rights with regard to marijuana on numerous occasions, but managed to rescind the Cole Memo in January 2018.
Trump has also not been shy about attaching signing statements to federal funding legislation being signed into law. A signing statement is something a president will use in situations where they believe their executive authority may be impeded. Although signing statements are vague, they allow President Trump to uphold federal law in accordance with his constitutional responsibilities. And since cannabis is an illicit drug, it would, in theory, allow the president to crack down on the cannabis industry.
Perhaps the most telltale sign that President Trump has zero intention of altering the federal stance on cannabis can be found by taking a look at his cabinet. Even though members of the Republican Party are generally more averse to cannabis legalization than Democrats or Independents, many of the key members of Trump’s cabinet have voiced opposition to legalization in the past.
Both Jeff Sessions and current Attorney General William Barr have been very clear that they are not in favor of legalizing marijuana at the national level. Newly hired chief of staff, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), remains “opposed to liberalizing drug laws (including around banking),” and feels that adolescents need to be protected by keeping cannabis an illicit substance. Then there’s Alex Azar, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, who said in August that, “marijuana is a dangerous drug, especially for young people and pregnant women.”
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