Legal Marijuana Transcends Party Lines

Cannabit: Legal Marijuana Transcend Party Lines / 01212017

Legal Marijuana Transcends Party Lines

There has been widespread speculation on how the Trump administration might approach federal cannabis policy following the nomination of Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General. Sessions, a former district attorney who has long argued for more aggressive cannabis prohibition enforcement, was decidedly non-committal during his confirmation hearing about what he would do in state’s that have legalized cannabis for medical or adult use.

However, the results of November’s marijuana legalization initiative results may complicate any federal efforts to dismantle legal cannabis markets. In 2016, 10 states voted to legalize marijuana either via the ballot or the state legislature. This included some key Republican-leaning markets, including Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, and added to the battleground states of Michigan and Arizona, both of which had already approved medical cannabis and which Trump won against Hillary Clinton.

The expansion of legal cannabis markets into the country’s most populous states, and the growth in critical Republican-leaning markets with legal cannabis programs increases the likelihood that any efforts by the Trump administration to disrupt the cannabis industry could spark a state’s rights debate among conservatives, and potentially fracture the Republican party at a time when party unity will be especially important to advance the new president’s agenda.

Additionally, with so many urgent competing priorities to attend to, ranging from the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act to the national infrastructure reinvestment initiative the president outlined in his inaugural address, it is unlikely that legal cannabis will be a top issue in the early days of the administration. Consequently, despite the fears that the Trump administration will adopt an antagonistic stance against legal cannabis, it is more likely that the administration will maintain the status quo established under the Obama administration, at least for the first few months in office.