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What Would a Trump Presidency Mean For Cannabis?

August 25, 2015
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a rally at Griffiss International Airport on Tuesday, April 12, 2016, in Rome, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

UPDATE, Nov. 8, 2016: The story has been updated to reflect the results of the 2016 general election. 

As we greet the day after the 2016 general election, the question on everyone’s lips now is what a Donald Trump presidency will mean for cannabis.

When we examine Trump’s history with cannabis, it’s a mixed bag of opinions and proclamations.

In 1990, Trump, ever the businessman, supported the legalization of cannabis and proposed ending the War on Drugs to cash in on cannabis revenue to a Florida audience during a luncheon hosted by the Miami Herald:

“We’re losing badly the war on drugs. You have to legalize drugs to win that war. You have to take the profit away from these drug czars….What I’d like to do maybe by bringing it up is cause enough controversy that you get into a dialogue on the issue of drugs and you start to realize that this is the only answer; there is no other answer.”

However, in more recent interviews, Trump started singing a different tune on legalization. When asked about Colorado, his response was disheartening:

“I think it’s bad and I feel strongly about it. They’ve got a lot of problems going on right now in Colorado, some big problems.”

Which problems is he referring to, exactly? The extra revenue going back to educational funds? The booming economy and abundance of new jobs? The drop in violent crime and property crime?

Trump does claim to support states’ rights to legalize, saying, “If they vote for it, they vote for it.” He also acknowledged support for medical marijuana, opining that “Medical marijuana is another thing. I think medical marijuana, 100 percent.”

So, the question remains: how will the marijuana legalization movement be affected under a Trump presidency?

Another major factor to consider are his brothers in arms – namely Chris Christie, Rudy Guiliani, and Mike Pence, all of whom are staunchly anti-cannabis. If Trump chooses to put any of them in a position of power, such as Attorney General, there’s a very real possibility that they could attempt to shut down the legal cannabis industry.

During his bid for the Republican nomination, Chris Christie said as much on the campaign trail. When asked if he would enforce federal drug laws, his response was “Absolutely. I will crack down and not permit it.”

During Rudy Guiliani’s mayoral term, he cracked down hard on illegal drugs, with a special focus on marijuana. It’s nearly guaranteed that he would continue in the same vein, given the opportunity.

The biggest concerns for newly legal states, as well as medical states will almost certainly be related to those in Trump’s administration, rather than Trump himself.

We’re taking some minor solace in that Trump is, by definition, a businessman. He has said he respects states’ rights and supports medical cannabis, which is as much as we can ask for right now.

Perhaps if he realizes the incredible amount of revenue that can be produced from legalizing cannabis, as a man who knows that money talks, he may see the light.


Lead Image: Mike Groll/AP

  • Disgusted Citizen

    Another article that puts words in Trumps mouth and repeats oft told mischaracterizations of him being a racist. His life story tells another tale. Meanwhile…..

    • Biggd4355

      refusing renters because they are black, or colored, fits the description of racist 7 days a week. And we all heard him say he likes his veterans uncaptured. Nobody put those words in his mouth. And the women that vote for him need to dye their typical blonde. Some blondes are intelligent, so I said typical as a way to separate them.

      • Lucifer Prime

        You have no reason to call Trump a racist, I know for a fact that you cannot back that up. Refusing renters based on their race is illegal, refusing renters based on their credit score, renter history, or criminal records is not. You think Donald Trump is racist because he is white, rich, and rude, and this fits with your world view preconceptions which were probably derived from watching too much television and Hollywood movies.

      • Rafael Carneiro Almeida


        LIER!! Typical american wannabe sports hero. Belives anything he sees on CNN…. Sore loser. Go to school, ignorant.

      • Dr Anon

        You obviously don’t own rental property. Racist or not, renting to coloreds is a prime way to end up with your investment trashed.

        • psi2u2

          You are obviously ignorant of the full extent of Trump’s ignorance of “coloreds”.

          • Dr Anon

            Trump wasn’t ignorant of colored people; that’s precisely why he didn’t want to rent to them. Again, the owners in this world have to be selective with who they trust to rent their investments. People who regularly rent to coloreds lose a lot of money. It is you who are ignorant of reality, probably like the rest of them: you’re afraid of being different than what is popular… I don’t give a hoot what anyone calls me. I just want the rent check on time. Whites and Asians have figured out how to meet this simple request so I rent to them.

      • psi2u2

        Thank you for the important clarification. So is denying for 8 years that the President of the United States is an American citizen simply because he’s African American. There is no question that Trump is a racist.

  • Brown Dirt

    Seriously medical Marijuana is a reality but do you really want cocaine and heroin in this country. A war on these drugs is a necessity. And I firmly believe pain pills should only be dished out weekly and to people with a history of addiction should not even be allowed that. Addiction sucks the life out of the people and everyone who cares about them.

    • mbunker2007

      marijuana will be legal soon enough in all states.

    • Deguello

      Brown dirt apparently means shit for brains. There IS a difference between addiction and dependence. The government being involved in our healthcare has shown to be a dismal failure and it sounds as if that is what you are advocating. There will always be drug abuse the same as there will always be alcohol abuse. You need to put yourself in the position of having a chronic condition requiring pain medication—none of us ever thought it would happen to us. Our health should be between ourselves and our doctors and hands off for our government. The burden caused by having to make a weekly visit to the Dr. would be ridiculous both monetary and paperwork wise. There are many of us who couldn’t lead a normal life without pain meds. This doesn’t mean we are abusers. We are dependent but not junkies. Consider what it would be like to live your life each day knowing that the government could at any moment take away your means of being able to do the tasks of everyday normal life—shopping, laundry, cooking etc. Give me one valid reason why a person should have to live in chronic irreversible pain when we have the science and medical knowledge to change that.

    • Biggd4355

      so, let’s talk about the success of our war on drugs. You say we need to keep the war on cocaine and heroine. Well, we have. Now heroine is cheaper and stronger than ever. And much easier to get. So how long do we continue failed practices? As long as it’s profitable, that’s how long. Nothing to do with health. Other countries have legalized drugs and their crime rate is way below ours. And mr dirt, if a person with a addictive personality gets terminal cancer. They should die a horrible painful death? At least they weren’t addicted when they died.

      • Brown Dirt

        Yeah your opinion has been taken a half million times before, until someone you brought into this world and you molded with all your love and support and you watched grow from that little girl on the swing set graduate high school enter NYSU on full scholarship get into a car wreck end up on pain pills then a heroin over dose I think maybe you would look for anyway possible to keep this garbage from happening to your kids one day

        • Ineed Money

          I am that kid. I had a full ride to MIT and fell off a mountain while climbing. I’ve had more ODs than i can remember from the 5yrs of physical therapy I spent on morphine and still want to die to be honest…unless I’m smoking train wreck…then it’s all good and I could care less. pot allowed me to quit all other pain meds and I’ve never od’ed on pot…and I smoke a lot. Accidents happen, and what happened to your daughter is horrible but that doesn’t mean harsher laws and “protecting” people will make it better… doesn’t.

        • Rafael Carneiro Almeida

          If she did not know how to drive, or was drunk, or texting, she shouldnt be driving. Or you should sue the one responsible for the accident. Do not blame her irresponsible use of drugs, that one, you could have helped, but chose otherwise.

          • Brown Dirt

            You misunderstood Rafael, she never had a drug problem until she had accident caused by a drunk driver, The opiod pills she was prescribed were to addictive for her to control and when Dr’s stopped the scripts the heroin was cheap and tore our family apart and took her life. Look we are all entitled to our opinions, there are over 1,000,000 heroin addicts in 2015 alone in the U.S. according to the NSDUH and 14,000 overdoses the same year C.D.C and that’s according to our lying government. And according to to both agencies that may triple by the end of 2017 and 90% will be attributed by the use opiod pain pills. Still think there’s no problem.

          • psi2u2

            So we should make drug policy based on your emotional response to your daughter’s problem? No, not really. And stop spouting facts that don’t mean anything without a legitimate foundation. We all know that the unauthorized “recreational” use of some drugs can kill people. So can medical error, but I don’t hear you proposing a “war” on medical error, because everyone with half an ounce of sense realizes that such a “war” would only be a witch hunt against medical professionals. The “war on drugs” is a witchhunt too.

            Return to the problem. You are defending a “war” on drugs. Explain to us how declaring war on an abstraction can help anyone.

        • psi2u2

          Again, how will you “win” this war? Especially when the most serious threats to health involve legal but controlled pharmaceuticals. Education and treatment are the only real options, but you don’t get those when your DEA lies about science to perpetuate its twisted bureaucratic power.

    • RSizzle

      i agree, its all around me, and its fucked up that something that does that to people, separates families, and kills people is “legal for medical purposes” which is what really corrupts people, then marijuana which doesn’t have not one report of someone that od’d on weed

    • psi2u2

      It’s the “war” part that is wrong. How do you propose to “win” this war? Drugs are a medical problem. Period. Declaring “war” on them is a ridiculous proposition to begin with.

  • mbunker2007

    Stop the madness and just legalize

    • Rafael Carneiro Almeida

      YES! Dont blame the drug for a crime, blame the weak human without caracter.

  • juber

    We became aware in the 60’s. We haven’t gone away. We have been more than patient. It is way past time for the legalization and decriminalization. Please, come together. The weed is Peace. The weed is Health. The weed is Safe. And, the weed Is.

    • Philip Cammarano

      Right on man, You say it all! Nuff Said!!!

  • August Spies

    They could do a lot of damage to existing businesses and grow operations, but they could not change any state laws. They could enforce federal law, which would grow the black market and take us back the Reagan days when the federal government was at war with its own people. It would be a huge waste of jobs and federal tax dollars. If they choose to go that route, we must put up every barrier possible. Make it is hard and expensive for them as possible. If it’s a black market they want, then it’s a black market they’ll get.

  • August Spies

    As for Trump himself, he has the support of quite a few disillusioned Americans, but he doesn’t have the support of his own party in Congress, and he represents a threat to their ideals and their hold on power. They will give him plenty of rope to hang himself, and if he makes one mistake or takes their party or the country in a direction they don’t want to see it go, they will impeach him in an instant. The Republican establishment is still very much in control of Congress and their party, and they would much rather see a President Pence than a President Trump. All is not well within the Republican Party.

    • Angel Neris

      I understand what your saying, you should also keep in mind that most of the republicans in congress kept there control because he won the presidency. They will be grateful. But I agree, all is not well. I think Trump can win the remaining Republicans.

    • Brown Dirt

      Oh boy don’t you have a business to destroy or something, there must be a garbage can you can light on fire or maybe a good cry in with Miley Cyrus

  • James Hertzog

    Please decriminalized nationally.