What is the Future of Recreational Marijuana in Trump’s America?

It is encouraging to see such ongoing marijuana legalization in the US. Recreational marijuana is now legal in 8 states – Colorado, Washington, Maine, New Jersey, Alaska, Massachusetts, Nevada and Oregon. More states are set to follow, and West Virginia is quite possibly the next to be added to the list. Many believe that we will soon see adoption in the majority of the USA, in a world where it is legal to smoke marijuana. This would have been inconceivable even 5 years ago, but is becoming a reality now.

Saying this, the matter is not set in stone. It is still illegal at the Federal level and some alarming statements have been made by government officials, which seem to indicate that a crackdown could be imminent. There is also the issue of tax and regulation. Nobody knows how much state authorities are actually going to intervene in the distribution and cultivation process and if this could be detrimental to the whole idea of recreational marijuana.

The Future of Recreational Marijuana

The difficulty in discussing recreational marijuana in the US is that there appears to be different opinions on the topic coming from President Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Sean Spicer. Jess Sessions seem to be staunchly anti-marijuana. Sessions controversially stated:

‘States, they can pass the laws they choose. I would just say, it does remain a violation of federal law to distribute marijuana throughout any place in the United States, whether a state legalizes it or not,’

He also stated:

We need grown-ups in charge in Washington to say marijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized, it ought not to be minimized, that it’s in fact a very real danger

The first statement does not seem to make much sense, other than in terms of marijuana Federal law is going to take precedence regardless of the rules of the state, rules decided via a vote of the residing citizens on whether to legalize recreational marijuana or not. Sessions sent a memo to the justice department outlining a link between marijuana consumption and violent crime (it goes without saying that there is no link) and his task force is dedicated to dealing with the issue. Sessions is an outspoken opponent of marijuana, stating that it is a gateway to more violent drugs. His task force, The Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, is expected to crack down on marijuana consumption and distribution in a big way very soon. Sessions is a dangerous opponent of violent criminals sitting at home smoking marijuana and eating Doritos. He has implied that one of his main priorities is to enforce laws against marijuana on a federal level.

Trumps Marijuana Stance

President Trump, in his defense, is not so staunchly against marijuana. On his campaign for the presidency, he claimed that the legalization of recreational marijuana use should be left to the States. And of course, it should be. In May, he signed a $1 trillion-dollar bill safeguarding medical marijuana. The bill prevents the Department of Justice from using funds to attack the legitimate production and distribution of medical marijuana.

Unfortunately, here it gets a little bizarre. Trump signed the bill but said he would reserve the right to ignore the amendment and could pursue legal action against states that legalize marijuana for medical use. This would be a very strange state of affairs if the Federal government sued states for legalizing medical marijuana. The Republican party has historically been about less government, less interference and the rights of states. Trump is yet again playing it coy and appealing to both sides, saying it would be up to the states yet reserving the right to take action against states, an action which will most likely never be used. There could be some internal conflict as Sessions and Trump are not on the same page.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer stated in February that there will be greater enforcement of federal marijuana laws in those states that legalize medical marijuana. Spicer has indicated that medical marijuana is fine but that recreational marijuana is still an issue to be addressed and that there would be federal enforcement of recreational marijuana. Spicer is since retired but was reported to be on good terms with Trump who tweeted that it was unfortunate that Spicer has to leave his administration due to coverage from the fake news media.

What does the Future hold for Recreational Marijuana?

It is difficult to know what lies in store forrecreational marijuana use in the USA. Generally, the future looks positive, and it will be up to the individual states to decide whether to legalize it or not. However, Sessions is as biased and as anti-marijuana as it gets, and no amount of reason or scientific evidence is going to deter him from pursuing marijuana users and distributors to the best of his ability.

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