Ever since Donald Trump was elected the President of the United States, the marijuana industry has been a little nervous about how the administration will respond to legal weed. While the federal prohibition of marijuana is still on the books, the Obama administration maintained a policy of not going after states which decided to legalize.
But Trump is a very different president than Barack Obama. On Thursday, Trump’s Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, finally broke the relative silence on the White House’s policy on marijuana enforcement, and it didn’t sound good for the industry.
“There’s a big difference between [medical marijuana] and recreational marijuana and I think when you see something like the opioid addiction crisis blossoming in so many states around this country, the last thing we should be doing is encouraging people. There is still a federal law that we need to abide by in terms of recreational marijuana and other drugs of that nature.”
Many point out the false equivalency between opioid addiction and He went on to say that enforcement of recreational marijuana laws would ultimately be up to the Department of Justice, but that he expected to see stronger enforcement of the federal laws.
The explanation for the policy was left there, so it’s unclear what exactly “greater enforcement” would look like. While the comments by Spicer are making some investors of the marijuana industry nervous, many point out that the idea the federal government could end the recreational cannabis industry is dubious at best.
States that have legalized recreational marijuana have seen tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue and boosts to their economies. Furthermore, many state officials are expected to be very resistant to any effort of the Trump administration to disrupt the industry. In a Seattle Times interview, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said bluntly:
“I will resist any efforts by the Trump administration to undermine the will of the voters in Washington state.”
It’s very hard to imagine the Trump administration logistically and politically justifying destroying an industry that is approved by voters and boosting the economy.