President Donald Trump Cannabis Policy and Medical Marijuana Policies
With the election of Donald Trump as the US president, many are wondering what the Trump cannabis policy approach he will take. Trump cannabis policy may be to legalize cannabis. It is commonly known he supports cannabis for medicinal use. But, there are several options the Trump administration could take. President Donald Trump Cannabis Policy and Medical Marijuana Policies below.
Canada is moving forward with legal weed if you believe Trudeau’s Promise
Canada is moving to legalise cannabis with its Prime Minister Justin Trudeau leading the way. He believes cannabis legalisation and regulation will protect Canada’s children. Trudeau know’s it will clean up crime from the streets. Cannabis provokes passionate discussions and debates on all sides. They always find something to disagree about.
Under the Obama administration, cannabis was not on the agenda. The Department of Justice released a memo in 2013. It directed law enforcement not to use limited resources to raid cannabis operations in states where they have legalised and regulated the industry. However, before handing over the administration to Trump, Obama commented that now was a good time to open the debate on cannabis legalisation. Research is being undertaken by the Institute of Drug Abuse to determine the most effective policies for cannabis beyond simple prohibition or legalisation for all. Every pothead is wondering what the Trump cannabis policy will look like.
According Pew Research, Americans appear to be in favour of cannabis legalisation with 57 percent of adults believing is should be legal. Surprisingly, only 37 percent were against it. This is a complete turnaround from 10 years ago. Support is at an all-time high for medicinal cannabis with 89 percent of Americans saying it should be legal. This increases the pressure on a new administration to look at its tradition of prohibition. It needs to consider better ways of managing the cannabis industry other than putting more laws in to support prohibition – which puts more money into the pockets of black market operators.
Now the big question is – what will Trump do? Will he follow the status quo or does he have different ideas? Here are some options the new administration could consider.
Trump’s government could support legislation to legalise cannabis at a federal level. There is an issue with this as it would violate the international drug conventions the US is a signatory to along with most countries in the world, including Canada. Legalising cannabis opens it up to the commercial market which allows the federal government to tax it or set a minimum price. A cannabis industry could benefit all Americans.
There are strong economic reasons for legalising cannabis. The industry predicted to be worth billions of dollars as it stands ready to become legal and regulated. Legal sales of cannabis rose 17 percent in 2015 bringing in $5.4 billion with a forecast of a 25 percent growth in 2016. Legalising cannabis has the potential to put $50 billion of revenue from cannabis sales into the federal treasury coffers in a decade.
Change its classification
Currently cannabis is a Schedule 1 drug. This is the most prohibitive category and includes drugs such as heroin and cocaine. It remains a Schedule 1 drug. The Food and Drug Administration is not convinces the whole plant has medicinal properties. The Trump administration could reclassify cannabis to allow more in depth research into its benefits.
Continue as is
The Trump administration could always adopt the Obama approach and change nothing. Currently Washington and Colorado are giving licences to companies wanting to cash in on the industry. By maintaining the status quo, more US states will follow the Colorado and Washington examples where the cannabis industry is big business. But, it also benefits their communities.
Shut the cannabis industry down
Th US could always decide to shut down the cannabis industry in US states where cannabis is legal for recreational use. This would be easy. Trump could instruct the Department of Justice to send out notices to the companies to stop trading. This would not be a good political move, however, for the states could accuse the federal government of putting people out of work, removing funding from charities and recreating a black market for criminals to take over.
The fees and charges from cannabis licencing brought $135 million into the State of Colorado’s bank account in 2015. Colorado used $35 million to build new schools. Colorado charges its normal 2.9 percent sales tax with an extra 10 percent cannabis sales tax. There is also a 15 percent excise tax on wholesale cannabis transfers. There have been 18,000 jobs created through the cannabis industry in Colorado. Washington charges a 37 percent excise tax on recreational cannabis.
It is time for the government to act to take control and regulate the industry before the US ends up with something is does not want. What the Trump administration is anyone’s guess at this time. With Canada leading the way on federal cannabis legislation, the new administration could take notice of how Canada approaches this complex issue.
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