Why Cannabis Businesses Shouldn’t Freak Out About Trump
Last week Sean Spicer went on television and said a few things about recreational cannabis that might have some cannabis business owners feeling a bit nervous about the future of the industry. Basically, he implied that the Trump administration could bring the hammer down on the recreational space (though medicinal seems to be safe).
Here are a few reasons you shouldn’t be freaked out by Spicer’s comments:
Job Creation and Tax Revenues
The latest reports show that, by 2020, cannabis will have created more than a quarter of a million jobs — which is more growth than we’ll see in manufacturing, utilities, or government. This is on top of the 150,000 jobs the industry already employs.
At the same time, recreational sales are expected to grow to $11.2 billion by 2020. Combine that with medical (expected to hit $13.3 billion), and you have one of the largest consumer industries in the country.
Simply put, it would ridiculous for an administration that positions itself as the jobs and infrastructure team to take action that would directly eliminate so many jobs while wiping out tax revenues that are badly needed for building projects. I know, logic hasn’t proven to be one of the Trump Administration’s strong suits, but when the rubber hits the road it will be difficult for them to justify such an action.
Public Support for Legalization Continues to Rise
According to Pew Research, support for legal cannabis is on the rise with 61% of adults in the pro camp — and that includes more than 40% of republicans.
While Trump and Co. haven’t exactly positioned themselves on the side of the majority, these numbers indicate that it will be difficult for them to achieve pushback against recreational cannabis.
They Have Other Priorities
Spicer’s comments were made among a flurry of others, most of which involved issues that seem to be more pressing to the Administration, such as immigration and healthcare.
With their sights set there, it’s difficult to imagine them redirecting their resources and attention to cannabis.
They’re Using Faulty Justification, and Everyone Knows It
Spicer indicated that the reasoning behind a recreational cannabis crackdown involves the exploding opioid epidemic, as if the former caused the latter. You and I both know that isn’t true, and we’re not alone — publications across the board have been calling it out.
In fact, states with legalized recreational cannabis actually have lower prescription overdose rates than those without. And some studies have even begun to show that cannabis can directly combat opioid addiction.
State Leaders Are Standing Up for State’s Rights
Leadership in recreational-legal states like California and Colorado are already making it clear that they intend to stand up for the will of their voters.
As California Attorney General Xavier Becerra put it, “I took an oath to enforce the laws that California has passed. If there is action from the federal government on this subject, I will respond in an appropriate way to protect the interests of California.”
And it’s not just democrats. GOP California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher says he plans on introducing measures that will counteract federal attacks on states that have voted for legalization, and Colorado Republican Senate President Pro Tem Jerry Sonnenberg said that he can’t see the president going against state’s rights.
Simply put, if Trump wants a fight, he’s going to get it.
Trump’s Own Words
Now, granted, it’s difficult to lend too much credence to the president’s statements, but during his campaign he asserted his belief that cannabis is a state’s rights issue several times. For example, “In terms of marijuana and legalization, I think that should be a state issue, state-by-state.”
Hopefulyl this is one promise he keeps.
We All Knew It Wasn’t Going to Be Easy
In the end, we have to face the fact that this is a fight that has been ongoing for decades now, and that we all knew there were more uphill battles to come. It’s appealing to think that, with a single vote, we were able to cast off a century of opposition, but that’s not how this sort of thing works.
Until legalization is a national reality and we’ve had a chance to prove the many benefits that it has to deliver, our industry is always going to be threatened. Right now this isn’t time to be scared — it’s time to be prepared, for the struggle to not only protect our industry, but to uphold a movement that we know to be right.
This fight was here long before Trump was, and it will likely remain when he goes away. So let’s prepare ourselves to fight the good fight, and continue to educate our fellow citizens about the far-reaching benefits of legalized cannabis.
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