Future of legalized marijuana in question with change in administration

Jan 13, 2017

Credit Chuck Grimmett / Creative Commons

The future of legalized marijuana isn’t certain as President-elect Donald Trump enters the White House. 

As The Economist reports, over half of the states in the union have legalized marijuana in some form or another. Pot remains illegal under federal law, however, so any pot shop could technically be shut down at any time.

President Barack Obama, while opposed to legalizing marijuana, ruled that enforcing federal law would be a waste of resources in states like Colorado, where both medical and recreational dope is legal.

But President-Elect Donald Trump hasn’t been completely clear about where he stands on the issue.

During his presidential campaign, Trump said whether pot should be legal was a matter for states to decide, but he recently referred to Colorado’s cannabis regime as a “real problem.”

Some f his cabinet picks, like Vice President-elect Mike Pence and his pick for attorney general, Sen. Jeff Sessions, view legalized cannabis unfavorably.

As governor of Indiana, Pence presided over one of America’s toughest anti-marijuana regimes and Sessions has expressed his opposition by saying, “good people don’t smoke marijuana.”

This has advocates of legalized marijuana concerned.

Andrew Freedman, Colorado’s director of marijuana coordination, and Adam Dickey, a spokesman for a cannabis shop in Boulder, Colorado, both say it is a very real possibility that the incoming administration could make enforcement of the federal law prohibiting marijuana a priority.

However, the expense of cracking down on the legalized pot trade likely would hinder this effort and doing so would be a contradiction of Trump’s proclaimed stance that states should be autonomous.

According to The Economist, it would also go against the tide of public opinion, as around 60 percent of Americans are in favor of legalizing cannabis.