Now that the cannabis industry is on the verge of becoming a $21 billion industry within the next five years, it is difficult to imagine that Jeff Sessions could sabotage the market: dismantling decades of progress and leaving hundreds of thousands of workers to fend for themselves in the unemployment line, but it could happen…and those with millions of dollars invested in this new appendage of America commerce are just waiting to see how it all pans out.
Although more than half the nation has sided with common sense and passed policies that allows marijuana to be grown and sold for medical and recreational purposes, the federal government has still not mentioned any future plans. The whole of the cannabis trade was given a little breathing room several years ago with respect to how the government handles legal weed when the Obama Administration published a set of non-binding rules (Cole Memo) that essentially said, “As long as you (legal state) do not bring about the second coming of the apocalypse, we’re cool.” It was the best deal the Feds have ever offered to the cannabis community, and the movement proudly accepted it.
Now we have Jeff Sessions, who instead of making his intentions clear, has not elaborated on what he plans to do in terms of allowing the cannabis industry to continue operating without federal interference. Of course, this uncertainty has industry executives nervous, because everything they have worked to build over the past several years at risk of being buried.
What’s interesting is that while some proprietors of businesses that profit from the cultivation and sale of marijuana are legitimately concerned about the possibility of a federal crackdown, others simply do not believe it is possible for the Trump Administration to close the door on an market that is predicted to pour billions into the U.S. economy in the coming years.
However, policy experts say this thought process is not only arrogant, but naïve.
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“Your industry is small by any metric of American capitalism,” said John Hudak of the Brookings Institution. “You are a speck of dust in a clutter of dirt of American capitalism… The president is planning to repeal the Affordable Care Act. If you think that hospitals, doctors and the pharmaceutical industry are small enough to be shaken down by the president, but the cannabis industry is too big to face the same challenge from the president, once again, you’re insane.”
Recently, a handful of federal lawmakers devised a Cannabis Caucus in an attempt to persuade Congress to make concrete changes to federal marijuana laws, so the cannabis industry no longer has to live in fear of being shutdown by this or any future administration. Congressmen Dana Rohrabacher, Don Young, Earl Blumenauer and Jared Polis will introduce legislation in 2017 aimed at doing everything from allowing the cannabis industry to use banking services to legalizing marijuana nationwide in a manner to similar to alcohol.
So far, the Trump Administration has not given any indication that it plans to put a stop to the legal marijuana.