January 19, 2019

Trump supports ending marijuana ban, setting up friction with Sessions

10 June 2018, 08:13 | Devin Moran

Nugs of marijuana await packaging at the Hollingsworth Cannabis Company near Shelton


Add a notch to the slim column of policy agreements between President Trump and Gov. Charlie Baker as both yesterday threw their support behind a states' rights marijuana proposal that promises to clear away the dark cloud of federal prohibitions from the burgeoning industry.

The bill is dubbed the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States or STATES Act.

The president said Friday that he backed Senator Cory Gardner, a Colorado Republican, in his efforts to bring a bill that would make the drug legal. "But, I probably will end up supporting that, yes". "I think he'll find out soon from. victims of marijuana addiction and impaired driving that this is not as popular as Cory Gardner is leading him to believe".

"We're looking at it", Trump said. "But I probably will end up supporting that, yes".

The bill also does not provide guidance if the federal government disagrees with the specifics of a state law, such as if a state allowed minors to use marijuana or allowed a dispensary within close proximity to a school.

Nine states have legalized recreational marijuana and another 20 have legalized the drug for medical use.

Ever since Donald Trump took office as 45th president of the United States, cannabis industry entrepreneurs, as well as ordinary cannabis users, have anxious that the Trump administration might punish them for buying, selling, growing, or using marijuana.

The supportive remarks put Trump, who repeatedly said he would respect states' rights on marijuana during his campaign for the presidency, in direct conflict with the views of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. It is among 46 states that have laws permitting or decriminalizing marijuana or marijuana-based products. For example, the sale of marijuana would be prohibited at rest areas and truck stops, according to a bill summary.

Warren pushed back on the suggestion, voiced by a reporter, that the bill is unlikely to pass Congress in an election year, despite the president's backing. Elizabeth Warren introduced bipartisan legislation to protect state-legalized marijuana.

Trump's embrace of the bill is just another blow to his attorney general, who has been a longtime opponent of marijuana.

"President Trump made a commitment to Senator Gardner that he would support a federalist approach to state marijuana laws", noted Justin Strekal, political director for advocacy group NORML.

Gardner's home state of Colorado was one of the first to legalize marijuana, in 2012.

"The States Act is a great example of bipartisan legislation and how this country is meant to work", said Erik Knutson, chief executive of Keef Brands, which sells cannabis-infused beverages. "We need to move forward on a system that controls and regulates while protecting our kids and our communities".

Trump's backing would signal a turn from his Justice Department's stance on marijuana legalization.

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