By Thor Benson
There’s one good thing about Donald Trump when it comes to marijuana. Trump has said he supports medical marijuana, and he said legalizing recreational marijuana should be left up to the states. Tom Angell, the founder of Marijuana Majority, pointed this out in a statement after Trump won the presidency.
“President-Elect Trump has clearly and repeatedly pledged to respect state marijuana laws, and we fully expect him to follow through on those promises, not only because it is the right thing to do but also because these reforms are broadly supported by a growing majority of voters,” Angell wrote. “Reversing course and going against the tide of history would present huge political problems that the new administration does not need.”
That said, Trump is infamous for changing his mind whenever he feels like it, so it’s hard to say if he’ll actually follow his own campaign promises. Furthermore, those he has surrounded himself with as he prepares to take office do not give marijuana advocates much hope when it comes to protecting the progress that’s been made so far.
Let’s start with his likely Secretary of State, Rudy Giuliani. While he was mayor of New York City, nearly 1 million people were arrested for drug crimes, and marijuana was a major focus of his efforts. Furthermore, Giuliani has repeatedly spoken out against medical marijuana.
Chris Christie, who will likely have an “important role” in Trump’s administration, is no fan of marijuana either. During the campaign last year, Christie said twice that he would enforce federal law when it comes to marijuana, which would mean a crackdown on legal states. “If you’re getting high in Colorado today, enjoy it,” Christie said. “As of January 2017, I will enforce the federal laws.”
Reports are currently indicating Trump’s attorney general may be Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.). Sessions is on record saying that “good people don’t smoke marijuana” and that marijuana is not safer than alcohol.
Then there’s his vice president-elect, Mike Pence. Pence has a terrible history with marijuana, as we’ve explained before. While governor of Indiana, Pence brought forth some of the strictest marijuana laws in the country, including allowing those caught with over an ounce of marijuana to receive 2 1/2 years in prison and a felony. Those caught with any at all could get six months in prison. This does not bode well for those hoping for a pro-marijuana Trump administration.
It is possible Trump will take the reins and stick by his campaign promises, but he’s not known for consistency, and he’s supported by drug warriors. The only hope we may have for protecting marijuana is the growing acceptance of marijuana, the need for more tax revenues and the movement advocates have created.