Cannabis industry insiders have been worried sick about Donald Trump, Jeff Sessions and the socially conservative administration’s stance on legal marijuana (especially recreational) ever since they won the election last November.
Now, after a month of finger-crossing and sleepless nights since the inauguration, the cannabis industry got their first sign of the Trump administration’s stance in the form of a press conference from White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
Discussing recreational marijuana laws Spicer told the press corps “I do believe you will see greater enforcement of it.” And while Spicer explicitly told reporters that the administration would not be going after medical patients or providers, he did not make the same concessions for the burgeoning non-medical cannabis industry. “Recreational marijuana, that’s a very, very different subject.”
But while Spicer was more than comfortable linking marijuana use to America’s deadly opioid epidemic, the newly formed Congressional Cannabis Caucus did not hesitate to chide Spicer and the administration he represents.
Just hours after Spicer’s comments, the Cannabis Caucus, made up of four bipartisan representatives (Republicans Dana Rohrbacher and Don Young, as well as Democrats Earl Blumenauer and Jared Polis), released a statement stating they hope to "educate this administration on the need for more sensible marijuana policies and share the many experiences states have had with the legalization of cannabis. Together, we will continue to work in a bipartisan manner to reform our failed marijuana policies and provide a voice for Americans who have overwhelmingly voted for a more sensible drug policy."
The Caucus’ members represent California, Oregon, Colorado, and Alaska, all states that have voted to legalize marijuana for recreational adult use, and all states that would lose bundles of tax revenue without the cannabis industry.
No one in the Trump administration has given any details for a cannabis industry crackdown, but if the bolstering of federal immigration enforcement - despite state-level resistance - is any indicator, we have no reason to doubt Spicers claims.
The Cannabis Caucus was formed to advocate for and push pro-cannabis legislature and state-level protections on a federal stage, but if things go as Spicer hinted they might, the road will be a lot harder and longer than they’d anticipated.