11.09.2016
policy

Donald Trump’s Best- and Worst-Case Legal Weed Scenarios

Is it time to invest? Or divest?

Tuesday’s national election results had a Donald Trump-size surprise at the top, and an expected legalization of recreational or medical marijuana in eight of the nine states that had weed normalization on their ballots.

The optimistic expectations of those state weed laws passing sprang from, in part, the Obama Administration’s diversion of Justice Department agents from interfering with state rights to decide if residents can or cannot consume marijuana without law-enforcement interference.

Indeed, a week prior to the election, Obama openly discussed the drive to cannabis normalization with HBO talks show host Bill Maher, telling the TV audience that federal pot prohibition would “not be tenable” should California pass its Prop 64 Adult Use of Marijuana Act.

Californians did pass that act Tuesday, but the larger nation elected Donald Trump president of the United States. Trump’s definition of what is and what is not a tenable federal prohibition may differ from Obama’s.

In truth, no one knows what to expect. Trump’s public utterances on marijuana boil down to four a-little-bit contradictory bullet points.

Financial news site Forbes reacted to the election with a headline that asked “More States Legalize Marijuana, But Will President Trump Allow It?” 

Although posing the question, the Forbes story did not address in any substantive way what legal-weed producers and purveyors can expect from Donald Trump as Commander in Chief.

In truth, no one knows what to expect. Trump’s public utterances on marijuana boil down to four a-little-bit contradictory bullet points.

1) Trump has claimed to be “in favor of medical marijuana 100 percent.’

2) Trump is open to state’s rights to regulate medical marijuana, but has not suggested national legalization.

3) Trump views Colorado’s legal recreational weed industry as “a real problem.

4) Trump’s campaign avoided a definitive stance on the issue.

So a fact-based prognosis is hard to come by. But any paranoid reactionary onlooker can imagine the best and worst case scenarios of legal weed under President Trump.

Worst-Case Scenario:

After being appointed Attorney General, former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani will focus the Drug Enforcement Administration forces on shutting down all cannabis grow, processing, and retailing operations in states where recreational marijuana is legal. Inventories will be seized. Assets will be forfeited. Investors, owners, operators, and employees will be captured, convicted on racketeering and drugs charges, and subjected to the harshest punitive measures of the law.

Once the recreational marijuana markets have been cleaned out, Giuliani, with the blessing of tough-on-crime Trump, will go after the states harboring medical marijuana patients and purveyors.

Best-Case Scenario:

Back in 1990, Trump told The Miami Herald that the U.S. should "legalize drugs to win" the war on drugs. So somewhere in his brain is the idea that criminalizing weed is bad for the business of America.

Trump the pragmatist will see the financial windfalls waiting to fall into place with advancing weed normalization. Overcoming the objections of Vice President Mike Pence—who has a history of marijuana opposition and was governor of a state (Indiana) with some of the country’s toughest marijuana penalties—Trump will study recreational weed markets in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Massachusetts, and California, taking the best policies of each to set a template for national legalization as a means toward tax-revenue generation and job creation.

In this Best Case Scenario, of course, Trump will need to overrule Attorney General Giuliani’s contention that the only jobs marijuana should be creating are career opportunities for DEA agents, state and local narcotics squads, prosecuting attorneys, and prison guards.

Thanks to Business Insider for the tips.

Tagged: