Trump Picks Pro-Weed Business Leaders to Help Reopen the US Economy
The names include Tesla’s Elon Musk, the WWE’s Vince McMahon, Dana White of the UFC, and Gary Bettman of the NHL.
Published on April 15, 2020

Hey, look, everyone: The Donald finally wants some cannabis advocates on his team. It only took, what, over three years and a worldwide crisis that crushed the nation’s economy? 

On Wednesday, the White House issued a press release listing the names of American business leaders President Trump wants on his advisory board for restarting the US economy. The coronavirus pandemic in the US has, so far, led to the loss of over 17 million jobs. Uncertainties and fears surrounding the crisis, along with sluggish financial activity, caused the stock market to lose half of all gains made under his presidency. 

Among the weed-loving names on Trump’s let’s-restart-the-economy dream team: Tesla’s Elon Musk, the WWE’s Vince McMahon, UFC owner Dana White, Gary Bettman of the NHL, and Dallas Mavericks owner and billionaire Mark Cuban.

Why could these names be good news for the nation’s marijuana movement? Many of Trump’s most notable advisory board picks are avid and adamant cannabis supporters. For example, Elon Musk got famously stoned AF on Joe Rogan’s podcast a few years back. Vince McMahon was one of the first pro-sports league owners to let athletes smoke weed on their own time (in both the WWE and the relaunched XFL). Mark Cuban has admitted in interviews that he smokes weed, even though the NBA continues to treat weed-smoking among players as bad as steroid or cocaine use

And Dana White has touted the benefits of CBD for years, and even brought some pot companies in as UFC sponsors. In fact, White once appeared on an episode of MERRY JANE’s GGN with the Doggfather of Dankness himself, Snoop Dogg

On Monday, Trump proclaimed on Twitter that he and he alone has the “total” authority to reopen the US economy. He doesn’t, actually — not without declaring martial law — but Trump’s weekly hurricanes of bullshit have become normal forecasts under America’s current political climate. So, while he accuses state governors of “mutiny” for doing the exact fucking thing he asked them to do, he’s putting together a wishlist of fair-skinned bros to, ahem, trump the governors’ coast-to-coast quarantine taskforce. (To be fair, Obama’s Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice, was also included on Trump’s list, since the president observes ‘90s-era diversity quotas.)  

Since he became president in 2017, Trump has selected some of America’s most die-hard Republican anti-weed fanatics to work in the White House, even though marijuana legalization enjoys bipartisan support among US voters. Those anti-cannabis GOP crusaders have included Jeff Sessions, Pam Bondi, Mark Meadows, Bill Barr, and Kayleigh McEany

Trump hasn’t been friendly to weed either, even though he claimed while campaigning for president that he supports medical marijuana legalization. Earlier this year, a spokesperson from his 2020 presidential campaign said Trump would not federally legalize marijuana if re-elected, despite Trump’s previous promises to legalize if approved by Congress. 

Last month, all but eight US states brought their economies to a halt to slow the spread of COVID-19, the deadly illness caused by the novel coronavirus. The federal government also tightened imports coming through national borders and restricted travel from foreign countries, namely EU nations and China. 

Since late-stage capitalism depends on insane, unsustainable metrics, the global financial system tanked simply because people stopped spending money on shit they don’t actually need. To save the US economy from sinking altogether, Congress passed an unprecedented stimulus bill in March worth at least $2.2 trillion. Another round of emergency spending bills may be coming soon as the coronavirus lockdowns remain in place.

Meanwhile, the US weed industry is riding a financial rollercoaster. In some states, cannabis sales are breaking records under the coronavirus lockdowns. But in other states, the cannabis industry could collapse. The federal emergency aid bill blocks licensed pot companies, and any businesses that provide them services, from accessing the government’s special loans and credit lines. This week, Colorado Governor Jared Polis called on Congress to include the cannabis industry in future emergency relief bills. 

So, here’s to hoping that if Trump and Congress won’t take the weed-loving governor of Colorado seriously, they might listen to the cool, obscenely wealthy dudes who run Tesla, the WWE, the UFC, and the NHL instead. 

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Randy Robinson
Based in Denver, Randy studied cannabinoid science while getting a degree in molecular biology at the University of Colorado. When not writing about cannabis, science, politics, or LGBT issues, they can be found exploring nature somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Catch Randy on Twitter and Instagram @randieseljay
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