One of the largest newspapers in the United States wants President-elect Donald Trump to honor the will of individual jurisdictions when it comes to the legalization of marijuana.
On Tuesday, the editorial board for The Los Angeles Times called on the Trump Administration, specifically pointing a finger at U.S. Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions, to respect the voters' overwhelming decision in November to bring down prohibition in their neck of the woods.
The piece suggests that there may not be any cause for alarm because Trump did say throughout his campaign that he supports medical marijuana “100 percent,” but it goes on to insinuate that his older years may have left him a little flat on the subject of recreational use.
The LA Times, much like the cannabis industry itself, is concerned that AG Sessions might rip the Cole Memo to shreds and give the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration permission once again to start conducting raids on California dispensaries.
“If Sessions does take charge of the Justice Department, he could reverse the DOJ policy and undermine California’s new rules. That would be a step backward,” the board wrote. “In most of the states that have voted to legalize marijuana, commercialization has ushered in much-needed regulation. It’s how Colorado sought to ensure the safety of the marijuana people were already consuming. It’s how California will attempt to stop illegal cultivation, which has devastated sensitive ecosystems. The goal of Proposition 64 is to eliminate the black market and transform the existing multibillion-dollar underground industry into one regulated for consumer safety, environmental protection and public health.”
But even if the Trump Administration does allow the cannabis industry to continue operating as it has since the authority of President Obama, the LA Times worries his team will not give any consideration to other important issues with respect to the marijuana trade, like giving financial services the freedom to do business with legal marijuana operations.
“That means marijuana products are typically sold for cash, and dispensary owners pay their employees, their landlords and their taxes in cash, inviting crime and making it harder to regulate the sale of cannabis,” the board stated.
In the end, the LA Times believes trying to enforce a prohibitionary standard after years of legalization would simply be a waste of time for the new administration – calling for Trump to take more leadership on this issue than his predecessor.
“Decades of experience has shown that the U.S. can’t win a war on marijuana,” the board wrote. “It would be foolhardy for the federal government to dig in on cannabis prohibition now, when voters are increasingly choosing to legalize the drug for medicinal and recreational use. Trump and his attorney general ought to adhere to the will of state voters and demonstrate the kind of pragmatic leadership on marijuana policy that has too often been missing in the federal government.”
President-elect Trump will be sworn in on January 20.