There is still a great deal of uncertainty surrounding whether U.S. Attorney Gerneral Jeff Sessions will impose a federal crackdown against the legal marijuana industry. However, some investors are not allowing a potential threat stop them from turning pot production into the kind of green that even Republicans troglodytes can appreciate: money.
It was recently predicted that the nationwide cannabis industry could be worth around $21 billion by 2020 – creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs that will surpass the combined employment of both the manufacturing and government sectors.
Some cannabis industry leaders believe the economic strength of the market will make it impossible for the Trump administration to shut down the business of legal weed.
"If Sessions picks this fight, he's going to lose,” marijuana industry investor Serge Chistov told CNN Money. "He's going to be fighting against the money."
But policy experts, like John Hudak of the Brookings Institution, say the cannabis industry is nowhere even close to generating the kind of cash that could prevent Trump and his cronies over at the Justice Department from swooping in with a new policy designed to slit its throat.
During a recent speech at the Virginia Cannabis Conference, Hudak told those in attendance that they were all “insane” if they thought for a second that legal marijuana was “too big and popular” to become a sitting duck for the federal government.
“Your industry is small by any metric of American capitalism,” Hudak said. “You are a speck of dust in a clutter of dirt of American capitalism… The president is planning to repeal the Affordable Care Act. If you think that hospitals, doctors and the pharmaceutical industry are small enough to be shaken down by the president, but the cannabis industry is too big to face the same challenge from the president, once again, you’re insane.”
In terms of major contributions to the national economy, what Hudak says is true – the marijuana industry is still just a speck in the grand scheme of the real moneymakers. The U.S. alcohol industry, for example, is considered one of the largest economic powerhouses in the country, generating more than $400 billion in economic activity, while employing close to 4 million people. To shutdown the alcohol trade (again) would be economic suicide.
Even though the cannabis industry has the potential to achieve the same level of importance to the American economy, it just doesn’t have the power right now to stop the federal government from putting it down like a bad dog.
However, Trump’s administration will need to act now if they truly want to prevent the country from becoming dependent on the jobs and revenue that are destined to pour in as more states move to end pot prohibition.
Kristi Kelly, executive director of the Marijuana Industry Group, said recently that if the Trump Administration decides to close the door on the legal cannabis industry it would “cause a recession,” in Colorado, sending tens of thousands of workers to the unemployment line.
With that in mind, it stands to reason that once the nationwide cannabis industry reaches the point where it is employing hundreds of thousands of people, keeping construction crews and other contractors busy erecting the next industrial revolution, it is going to be extremely difficult for Trump’s or any future administration to even consider cracking down on legal weed.
What is more likely to happen, that is if legal states manage to escape Attorney General Sessions in the coming months, is that the nation will begin to move closer federally taxed and regulated cannabis.