Trump has proposed ending a rider provision in his fiscal year 2021 budget plan that protects states with legal medical marijuana from Justice Department interference.
In public, President Donald Trump has kept his views on marijuana close to the chest. He expressed support for the STATES Act, a bipartisan bill that would protect legal marijuana states from federal interference, which caused some cannabis advocates to believe Trump was on their side.
Recent actions, however, place that belief into question. Trump said in leaked audio recently that smoking marijuana causes users to “lose IQ points,” which has been scientifically denied by the National Institutes of Drug Abuse. In addition, we’ve seen Trump secure the wrong border in his War on Drugs, as Border Patrol has reported increases in seizures of marijuana on the U.S.-Canada border as marijuana smuggling incidents have dropped along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Now, Trump has proposed ending a rider provision in his fiscal year 2021 budget plan that protects states with legal medical marijuana from Justice Department interference. Specifically, the rider states the Justice Department can’t use federal funding to prohibit states or territories “from implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.” Trump’s budget also includes a rider that prohibits Washington D.C. from using local tax dollars to regulate the legal sale of marijuana.
Both of these actions stand in conflict with previous statements Trump made back in 2016 on the campaign trail.
“I think it certainly has to be a state—I have not smoked it—it’s got to be a state decision … I do like it, you know, from a medical standpoint … it does do pretty good things,” Trump said. “But from the other standpoint, I think that it should be up to the states.”
The rider that protects medical marijuana in legal states has been renewed each year since 2014. This isn’t the first time it’s been under scrutiny, though. President Barack Obama asked the policy to be removed during his tenure as well. But Trump is going one step further.
In December, the Trump Administration released large-scale spending legislation that stated as President he could ignore any medical marijuana protections provided by Congress. Whatever happens to this rider, the Trump administration reserves the right to “treat this provision consistent with the President’s constitutional responsibility to faithfully execute the laws of the United States.”