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Trump Continues to Flip-Flop on Medical Marijuana

The president’s support of cannabis is tenuous and ever changing.

The North American marijuana industry has had an incredible run over the past couple of years. In 2017, Mexico wound up legalizing medical marijuana, while in October 2018, Canada ended nine decades of adult-use prohibition and became only the second country worldwide to have given the green light to recreational weed. Within the U.S., two-thirds of all states have also legalized cannabis in some capacity, with 10 allowing adult consumption.

We’ve also witnessed a major shift in how the public views pot. Back in 1995, the year before California became the first U.S. state to wave the green flag on medical marijuana, a mere 25% of respondents in Gallup’s survey favored nationwide legalization. Comparatively, an all-time record two out of three Americans polled favored legalization in Gallup’s October 2018 survey.

It would seem that the tide has shifted for cannabis throughout North America, but that’s not necessarily the case for President Donald Trump.

President Trump on a video conference from behind his desk in the Oval Office.


President Trump keeps flip-flopping on medical pot

For those who may not recall, Trump was in full support of medical cannabis when questioned about the topic during 2016 presidential debates. He was quoted as saying that he was “100 percent” in favor of medical marijuana in the U.S. but opined that he’d need to see additional data before considering recreational weed for broad-based reform. However, this view from the president has undergone multiple transformations since 2016.

For instance, not long after being elected president, Trump appointed Jeff Sessions to become his attorney general (Sessions resigned in November 2018). Trump was fully aware of Sessions’ leanings, which included an ardent stance against the proliferation of cannabis in any form. In fact, Sessions attempted to persuade a few of his congressional colleagues to repeal the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment in 2017. This rider (also known as Rohrabacher-Blumenauer) has been attached to all federal spending bills since 2014, and it’s designed to disallow the Justice Department from utilizing federal money to prosecute medical pot businesses operating in legal states. Needless to say, Sessions’ attempts to repeal this rider failed.

Sessions was also responsible for rescinding the Cole memo on Jan. 4, 2018. The Cole memo, written by former Deputy Attorney General James Cole under the Obama administration, outlined a series of “rules” that legalized-weed states would need to follow in order to keep the federal government off their backs, so to speak. This included keeping marijuana away from children, as well as keeping cannabis grown in a legal state within that state’s borders. At no point did President Trump intervene or speak out against Sessions’ attempts to subvert the legal weed industry.

Also in 2017, Israel had revealed plans to grow medical cannabis and (hopefully) export this weed to the United States. However, Israeli officials cancelled these plans after President Trump soured on the idea.

Then, in April 2018, Trump reversed course and once again supported the idea of states’ rights — i.e., the idea that states have the right to legalize marijuana in some capacity and regulate their own industry. This support came at a time when Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Co., was attempting to garner support for banking reform in the cannabis industry.

To Read The Rest Of This Article By Sean Williams on The Motley Fool

Published: February 23, 2019

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