30th October 2020
By Roland Sebestyén
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From his first attorney general’s damaging comments to his own mixed messages, Donald Trump has kept the cannabis industry on their toes for the last four years. While the drug is still illegal under federal law, more states legalised recreational and medicinal use during this four-year span. But what would happen to cannabis should Trump remain in power?

Although vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris (D) claimed under a Joe Biden administration cannabis would be decriminalised, Donald Trump has been surprisingly quiet on the topic in this US election campaign.

It should be noted that Donald Trump’s tenure in the White House has been a rather chaotic one when it comes to cannabis policy.

Jeff Sessions, the Trump administration’s first attorney general, was adamantly against federal legalisation during his 19 months in office.

He said: “I, as you know, am dubious about cannabis. States can pass whatever laws they choose, but I’m not sure we’re going to be a better, healthier nation if we have marijuana being sold at every corner grocery store.”

On another occasion, he said that the leaders of the United States government should send a message with clarity that “good people don’t smoke cannabis.”

According to reports, businesses, and investors in the cannabis industry were relieved when Mr. Sessions was ousted in 2018.

Since then, Donald Trump has been running the show on the topic, and in fairness, it hasn’t been easy to keep up with him.

What does Donal Trump really think about cannabis?

In 2018, he said he supported a bipartisan bill to allow states to decide on their cannabis policy, and Mr. Trump reiterated his position a year later.

Yet, his administration revoked an Obama-era cannabis policy, which directed federal prosecutors not to pursue cannabis prosecutions in states where the drug is legal.

At the same time, President Trump claimed cannabis use would lower the consumer’s IQ points, and in 2020, he praised the countries where drug dealers could be sentenced to death.

He said: “I don’t know that our country is ready for that, but if you look throughout the world, the countries with a powerful death penalty with a fair but quick trial, they have very little if any drug problem.”

Donald Trump looks at cannabis as a political issue. Reportedly, he urged Republican-led states not to put questions about cannabis legalisation onto their ballots because, according to him, it might successfully mobilise the Democrats.

While some thought Donald Trump would legalise cannabis to boost his chances in the upcoming election, his 2021 fiscal budget proposal would remove protection for state medical cannabis laws.

What will happen should Trump win?

Some argued that nothing would be different in the next four years. Despite the potential in gaining political capital, Donald Trump hasn’t legalised cannabis federally, so why would he change his mind when he can’t stand in 2024?

Matt Carr, the chief trends strategist at the Oxford Club, told INN that he didn’t expect a change in the cannabis policy.

He said: “If Trump wins, do we have federal legalisation in the next couple years? Probably not.

“It is because I think they control the White House and then the Senate; that’s kind of difficult.”

However, another investor told the website that a potential Trump win would not be “negative for cannabis and at least has all the upside it already has right now.”

Donald Trump or not, on the state level, the US cannabis market is expected to continue flourishing; more states will legalise adult use and medicinal cannabis over the next few years.

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