How Will Donald Trump’s Presidency Affect Marijuana?
Is there a silver lining in the human hairpiece’s victory?
Published on November 9, 2016

A disclaimer: Everything about to be discussed comes with a huge, glaring, elephant-in-the-room-size “if” attached. These changes might be possible if, and only if, Donald Trump sticks to his most recent stance on cannabis. Whether that’s likely or not isn’t for me to decide at the moment.

As an outsider candidate unconcerned with maintaining the status quo of either party, Donald Trump always had less to lose by coming out in favor of cannabis than his more establishment-minded Republican colleagues. This meant he could cherry-pick the conservative stalwart ideals he wanted to harp on while also picking a few radical-seeming statements (for a Republican candidate to make) to appeal to the Independent vote. For Trump, saying he was in favor of medical cannabis was a safe way to step back from the Republican base.

For Clinton, mentioning cannabis during the campaign was more likely to lose conservative independent or renegade Republican votes than to convert any liberals to her cause: She was better off keeping mum. Trump, on the other hand, could say whatever he wanted. Being “in favor of medical marijuana 100 percent” as a campaign soundbyte is a slim silver lining to the Trump win, but again, this is considering he respects his most recent opinion while in office.

He has suggested states that have their own infrastructure in place will not be interfered with and he’d be open to rescheduling cannabis to schedule II or lower. This would mean that doctors across the country would be able to prescribe cannabis at their discretion as well as use cannabis to experiment on the full medical potential of the plant. But this would, ironically, also bring cannabis under complete federal control in certain respects, as the FDA would be able to dictate the rules of medical cannabis consumption, packaging, and advertising nationwide. So, in short, Trump’s victory could be a boon for cannabis in America, or it could just be yet another piece of proof that conservatives hate government programs until they can use them to squeeze civil liberties.

Tim Baker
Tim Baker is a New York-based writer and sometimes editor whose work has appeared in Newsweek, TV Guide, CBS and Discovery Special Editions, and can regularly be found at He has an MFA in creative writing from The New School and also attended Hunter College of the City University of New York.
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