The President of the United States has shockingly announced he most likely will stand behind a congressional effort to end the federal ban on marijuana, a huge step that would reshape the cannabis industry and end the threat of a Justice Department crackdown.
Trump’s comments put him sharply at odds with Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions on the issue. The bill in question, that is being campaigned by a bipartisan coalition, which would allow states to go carry onward with legalization unencumbered by threats of federal prosecution.
Trump made his comments to a gaggle of reporters Friday morning just before he boarded a helicopter on his way to the G-7 summit in Canada. His remarks came the day after the bipartisan group of lawmakers proposed their measure.
One of the lead sponsors is Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), who is aligned with Trump on several issues but recently has tangled with the administration over the Justice Department’s threatened crackdowns on marijuana.
“I support Sen. Gardner,” Trump said when asked about the bill. “I know exactly what he’s doing. We’re looking at it. But I probably will end up supporting that, yes.”
The legislative proposal, which is also championed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), would reshape the legal landscape for marijuana.
California and eight other states, as well as Washington, D.C., have legalized all adult use of marijuana. An additional 20 states permit marijuana for medical use.
However even as states legalize, marijuana has remained a hazardous and unstable business because of the federal law making it illegal. fears about federal law enforcement seizures have inhibited most lenders from working with marijuana businesses. And investors have also proceeded cautiously.
A lifting of the federal prohibition would bolster efforts to create uniform testing and regulatory standards for marijuana, and potentially free scientists to pursue research into the medical uses of marijuana.
Donald Trump stated he is likely to support the federal legalization effort despite a warning against it from the coalition of narcotics officer groups.
“We urge you to see through the smoke screen and reject attempts to encourage more drug use in America,” they wrote in a letter to Trump Thursday.