On Marijuana, we’ve come a full circle.
- Before 1911, nobody cared.
- Then Marijuana was prohibited – state by state. Massachusetts pioneered the prohibition in 1911 and other states followed. By 1933, 29 of the 50 states had prohibited it.
- Then after 50 years of prohibition, Oregon became the first state to decriminalize it. The wave of decriminalization lasted until 1990, when for the first time California legalized medical cannabis.
- Presently a majority of states have some form of legalized marijuana whether for recreational or medical purposes.
- Seven states California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada, along with the District of Columbia (Wash DC) have legalized recreational marijuana.
The trend now is toward legalization of recreational marijuana across the country.
The question now is more about whether Trump would throw a spanner into the works or not.
We have recently witnessed a fundamental shift in the White House. It now is home to a businessman not to a politician, and with this shift we must reflect upon a new set of parameters that will help us arrive at a conclusion. In the pre-Trump era, the considerations that most decisions were based upon were mainly political and sometimes personal, but seldom business.
For instance, the Pharma-cos and the alcoholic beverages industry would lobby against the legalization of Marijuana, which they have done in past. Lobbying against MJ legalization is a business proposition for the pharma-companies, and a personal/political proposition for the politicians, especially at the time of elections. And then there is the question of a group’s ideology. Historically, Republicans with their conservative values have always been less open to legalization than the Democrats, although that too seems to have changed in recent times.
With this in mind, let us look at Trump and attempt to project his take on it.
- Trump is first and foremost a businessman. If he considered the United States as a business entity, he would be interested in the legalization of Marijuana. Why? Because Marijuana is an industry that’s on the threshold of growth. Marijuana has the capability of spawning and supporting hundreds if not thousands of cottage industries. With legalization of marijuana in some form or another in a majority of states, and the budding legalization of recreational marijuana across the US, he would see a business potential in it.
- Trump wants to “make in the US” and had already informally asked the drug companies to keep their manufacturing within the shores. He can possibly visualize cannabis research resulting into drugs that can be manufactured in the US and exported.
- Trump cannot be “lobbied” by the pharma companies and the other groups that prefer that MJ stayed illegal. Personally, he is wealthy. Politically, he is secure in the White House for the next four years. The political point against this would be that Marijuana is a gateway drug and for this, there are arguments both in favor of and against. First and foremost of course is that most children are exposed to the drug alcohol first, therefore if any substance could be considered a gateway drug then it should be alcohol. Secondly since the public is obviously not opposed to the responsible use of adult recreational intoxicants, then allowing adults to choose a non toxic less harmful substance such as marijuana should be a no brainer.
- Then there is another huge factor that is specific to Trump, which is Trump’s own psychology. During his first few days in the Oval Office, Trump has signed orders and made decisions that have been criticized by every political pundit out there. He hasn’t been “politically-correct” in his Mexican dealings; he hasn’t been “environmentally-correct” in his decision regarding the pipeline project; and he hasn’t been afraid to step on some toes in calling for more vetting of citizens of seven (now) predominantly Muslim countries from entering the US for a three-month period. The psychology of Trump may shape the decisions he takes. Such a person would not flinch from making a decision that would result in the growth of business, even if he has to ruffle a few feathers.
For these reasons, I see him doing all or most of the following:
- supporting the complete legalization of medical marijuana in the states that are falling short of it.
- expecting pharmaceutical companies to invest in medical research on cannabis to produce and patent new drugs.
- not hindering the legalization of recreational marijuana in states that want to go for it.
To sum it up:
The domestic trade in marijuana is more valuable than both wheat and corn combined. And with law enforcement currently utilizing as much as 60% of its allotted budget enforcing prohibition the incentives for decriminalization is high. Law enforcement has much bigger fish to fry and should be focusing on crimes with victims, as many in the law enforcement community has already stated themselves.
Sessions might be a hypocrite but several of Trumps other cabinet picks are pro legalization. Trump promised to leave it up to the states to decide and a month into his presidency the states that went full legalization don’t appear to be slowing down in their efforts. Trump also appears to be following through with all of his campaign promises. So the outlook for the current trend to continue still looks good!. Happy toking and may the force remain with us!