Trump Reverses Policy on Cannabis Legalization
April 15th, 2018
President Trump has been notoriously unpredictable when making policy decisions – in fact unpredictability might be his primarily policy doctrine. The appointment of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General and the rescinding of the Cole Memo were widely viewed as anti-legalization moves by the Trump administration, despite widespread approval for legalization among voters in the nine states that have legalized marijuana thus far.
But, in an unexpected turn of events, comments made last week to Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Co.) suggest that the president supports a law to allow state legalization experiments to continue.
“President Trump has consistently supported states’ rights to decide for themselves how to best approach marijuana,” said Sen. Gardner in a press release last week. “Late Wednesday, I received a commitment from the President that the Department of Justice’s rescission of the Cole memo will not impact Colorado’s legal marijuana industry. Furthermore, President Trump has assured me that he will support a federalism-based legislative solution to fix this states’ rights issue once and for all.”
Sen. Gardner had previously threatened to block any Department of Justice nominations until he received such reassurances from the Trump administration about marijuana. With the new assurances from the president, Sen. Gardner announced that he would lift its remaining holds on Department of Justice nominees and work diligently on a bipartisan legislative solution that can pass Congress and head to the President’s desk to deliver on his position.
According to the Washington Post, White House officials confirmed that Sen. Gardner’s statements were accurate, but the Justice Department has declined to comment. The lack of support from the Justice Department has sparked some concern that the president may be unable or unwilling to deliver on his promise. These sentiments have left many analysts cautiously optimistic, but still unsure about the industry’s future.
Commitments mean little from President Trump.
The only way to truly protect states that have legalized marijuana is for Congress to act.
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) April 13, 2018
That said, it’s possible that President Trump has reversed his decisions amid widespread and growing support for cannabis legalization. According to Gallup, more than 64 percent of Americans support marijuana legalization, which is up from just 12 percent around 1970.
The cannabis industry will be keeping a close eye on this legislative agenda over the coming months, as any move by Congress could provide meaningful legal support for companies operating in the space and potentially access to the banking sector.
Cannabis stocks rose more than 10 percent on Friday following the news, reversing recent declines, and could mark the beginning of a renewed uptrend.
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