Trump and legal pot
Palisade voters went all in on the retail pot trade, approving measures to allow retail marijuana sales, retail marijuana testing facilities, retail marijuana product manufacturing facilities and a retail marijuana excise tax.
It’s part of a wave sweeping the country. California, by far America’s largest state economy, legalized recreational use, along with Nevada, Massachusetts and Maine.
As more states join the legal pot movement on arguments of personal freedom and tax revenue, we have to wonder what the economic impact will be on Colorado, which has certainly benefited from pot tourism. But before we even bother to speculate, we have to see how our new president plans to deal with the conflict between state and federal law.
Retail pot has been possible because the Obama administration has chosen not to enforce the federal law banning pot possession.
Marijuana doesn’t fit very neatly into Trump’s campaign rhetoric. As the self-professed law-and-order candidate, will he select an attorney general who would prioritize the prosecution of cannabis crimes under the federal Controlled Substances Act?
If so, he would be violating a conservative position that states should have the right to decide certain things for themselves. It would mean the federal government would be going into states, shutting down regulated markets, businesses and jobs and returning influence to the black market and cartels that controlled the drug trade before the marijuana reform movement took root.
Trump indicated during the campaign that he would allow states to set their own marijuana policies. But not three full days into the post-election Trump era, we’ve seen him and key advisers back away from better-known campaign pledges.
Take President Obama’s health-care law, for example. Trump said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Friday that he would like to keep some parts of the law intact and may seek to amend the statute rather than repeal it.
In the same interview, Trump avoided saying whether he would appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state.
The Washington Post followed up with numerous examples of surrogates and advisers softening Trump’s stance on building a wall on the Mexican border, imposing tarriffs on Chinese imports, the Iranian nuclear deal and deporting undocumented immigrants.
This isn’t to suggest that Trump won’t make good on his campaign promises. But there are hints that he may be more pragmatic than his campaign rhetoric suggests. We consider that a good thing.
We’re heeding the call to give him a chance to prove himself. For now, there’s too much equivocation coming out of his transition team to know exactly what he has in store. Whether you’re bothered by the hedging may boil down to whether you voted for him or not. Some will be relieved that he may not be the hardliner he professed to be. Others will see another politician telling people what they want to hear.