In November 2020 registered voters across the United States will cast their vote for president. While the Democrat side of the ticket is still up in the air, the Republican nominee is already set in stone.
Donald Trump is currently President of the United States and will be seeking a second term.
Personal opinions on many public policy areas will be weighed by voters when they make their ultimate decision of who to vote for in 2020.
One of those areas of public policy is cannabis policy. Cannabis policy has become a mainstream political issue in recent years, and long gone are the days when support for cannabis reform was considered to be political suicide.
Support for cannabis reform among voters is greater than ever in the United States, and many voters only want to support candidates who are pro-cannabis.
With that in mind, many voters are asking the question ‘is Donald Trump pro-cannabis?’ In this article, we will explore the evidence for and against Donald Trump being a pro-cannabis candidate.
What Trump Has Said and Done to Support Favorable Cannabis Policy
As a candidate, President Trump made comments expressing that he personally supports medical cannabis.
Trump has also expressed support for federal legislation that would allow states to legalize cannabis for adult-use if they want to, according to U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO).
Arguably the greatest pro-cannabis move that Trump has made while serving in office is signing, and not vetoing, the 2018 Farm Bill which legalized hemp across the country.
Federal regulators also announced that hemp businesses would receive more favorable banking parameters under the Trump administration.
For many pro-cannabis Trump supporters, two of the biggest arguments in favor of their side of the argument are that the Trump administration has not raided any state-compliant cannabis companies and the industry has dramatically increased in size during the last few years.
What Trump and His Administration Have Done That Is Anti-Cannabis
One of the worst moves by President Trump regarding cannabis policy was when he appointed long-time cannabis opponent Jeff Sessions as U.S. Attorney General.
You will be hard-pressed to find a bigger cannabis opponent in the U.S. than Jeff Sessions, who rescinded the Cole Memo during his tenure working for the Trump Administration.
Trump obviously did not officially object to the move by Jeff Sessions.
Trump also did not object when his administration testified against 3 sensible pro-cannabis bills that would have greatly helped military veterans.
According to documents obtained by BuzzFeed News, “The White House has secretly amassed a committee of federal agencies from across the government to combat public support for marijuana and cast state legalization measures in a negative light, while attempting to portray the drug as a national threat.”
Below are other examples of the Trump administration taking an anti-cannabis stance:
To be fair, some of the previously mentioned policies were already in place when Trump took office, so he is willingly keeping them in place versus initially implementing them.
Also to be fair, as some Trump supporters are quick to point out, many of these actions were taken by Trump administration officials, and not Trump himself.
However, to also be fair, when members of the Trump administration take a position on anything, cannabis policy included, they are doing so as an extension of the president himself.
Trump has made pro-cannabis comments in the past, however, he has also made anti-cannabis comments on at least two occasions while in office, in addition to personally hiring cannabis opponent Jeff Sessions.
While signing federal funding legislation earlier this year Trump went out of his way to make it clear that while the legislation he was signing included protections for state-legal cannabis industries, he reserved the right to still go after cannabis companies in legal states.
Trump made a similar statement this month when he signed additional federal funding legislation that contained the same state-level protections.
By all reasonable standards, if Trump was truly pro-cannabis, he would never make statements like the ones cited.
Where Does Trump Really Stand on Cannabis Policy?
As the previously cited examples demonstrate, Trump has a mixed record when it comes to cannabis policy.
Where Trump truly stands on cannabis policy is largely in the eye of the beholder because there’s ammunition for both sides of the argument.
Just as it is not fair to say that Trump is 100% pro-cannabis, it is also not fair to claim that he is a staunch cannabis opponent. What is more likely to be the case, as the record shows, is that it is not a particularly important policy area of concern for him.
If he was truly anti-cannabis, he would enforce federal cannabis prohibition in legal states.
If he was truly pro-cannabis, then he would make a concerted effort to reform cannabis banking policies, push for U.S. cannabis companies to be able to list on the New York Stock Exchange, pardon all federal cannabis prisoners, and personally push for pro-cannabis legislation, among other pro-cannabis actions.
Until Trump makes it abundantly and unequivocally clear exactly where he stands on cannabis policy, U.S. voters will be left to decide which side of the coin he actually falls on.
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