This January, Donald Trump will become the 45th president of the United States of America. It’s a plotline that could have come straight out of a Freak Brothers comic book or a Harold and Kumar movie, and it was an actual episode of The Simpsons. But this is no laughing matter. Love him or hate him, ‘The Donald’ will be calling the shots until at least 2020.
Coinciding with the presidential election in November, four states (California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada) voted to legalize recreational weed use, while North Dakota, Montana, Arkansas and Florida voted for legal medical cannabis measures. This means that over half the 50 states in the USA have now voted to legalize medical and recreational cannabis (or a combination of both).
Now that Donald Trump is in power, what does it mean for the marijuana legalization movement? As with many of Donald Trump’s campaign messages, what he really thinks is anyone’s guess! However, Paradise seeds is putting on its very best Sherlock Holmes and investigating the evidence!
Four clues to discover if Donald Trump is good or bad for marijuana legalization:
1) What does Trump say about weed?
In 1990, Trump told the Miami Herald; “We’re losing badly the War on Drugs. You have to legalize drugs to win that war. You have to take the profit away from these drug czars.” Fast forward to 2015, and he told The Washington Post, “In terms of marijuana and legalization, I think that should be a state issue, state-by-state. … Marijuana is such a big thing. I think medical should happen — right? Don’t we agree? I think so. And then I really believe we should leave it up to the states.” So far, so good....
2) What does Trump’s new government think about weed?
OK, so this is where things get a little more unpredictable. His new government appointees are mostly hardliners (hell, the Defense Secretary goes by the name of ‘Mad Dog’!) and include Senator Jeff Sessions, the new Attorney General who will run the country’s justice and law enforcement. This man has publicly stated, “Good people don’t smoke marijuana” and is also documented as saying that he thought the Ku Klux Klan were “okay” until he learned they smoked marijuana. At the moment, the cannabis legalization movement is winning because states are voting for it. However, under federal law, cannabis remains illegal. If Senator Sessions wants to pick a fight, the cannabis business could be in for a tough time.
3) What does Trump’s economic policy mean for weed?
“Make America Great Again!” It was the campaign message that cut through all the facts and figures and policy proposals that the Clinton team had prepared. To people with no money, no jobs, no sense of sharing the rewards of a globalized economy, it was this simple message that gave them hope. Now he has been elected, Trump needs to deliver. Will the entrepreneur businessman embrace the fact that cannabis is the fastest growing industry in the USA today (ArcView Group), and economic predictions that the country’s pot industry was worth an estimated $7.1 billion in 2016 (Forbes)? He needs to find a lot of homegrown jobs to make America great again and cannabis just could fuel the kind of labor market growth he’s looking for.
4) What do Trump’s new friends think about weed?
Let’s hope Trump’s phone conversation with Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte, was another case of Trump saying one thing… but not really meaning it. Duterte told CNN, “He was wishing me success in my campaign against the drug problem. He understood the way we are handling it and he said there is nothing wrong with protecting your country.” This is the same Philippine president who has used the military and police to hunt and kill over 2,000 drug traffickers and users since his election in June.
Time will tell what the Trump presidency means for cannabis. We certainly hope that he will continue the good work that Obama started (by not getting involved in the affairs of the states!), but it is likely there will be a few unexpected twists and turns over the next 4 years…