President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions clearly are not on the same page when it comes to cannabis legal reform. And this schism within the administration became more glaring on Friday when Trump stated that he “really” supports ground-breaking marijuana legislation filed by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.).
“I really do. I support Senator Gardner,” Trump declared when asked by a reporter whether he endorses the bill announced earlier this week. “I know exactly what he’s doing. We’re looking at it,” Trump said during a press conference on the White House lawn. “But I probably will end up supporting that, yes.”
Trump’s declarative statement demonstrates the clear divide between the president at Sessions, the nation’s top cop. The legislation being pushed by Warren and Gardner is called the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act and it would essentially give individual states the ability to create their own cannabis regulations without fear of federal interference.
Nine states, as well as Washington, D.C., have legalized the adult recreational use of cannabis; 20 additional states have some sort of medical marijuana program in place.
Of course, some cannabis advocates remain circumspect when it comes to promises made by Trump. But his endorsement on Friday appears to be unequivocal.
“It is a positive sign that President Trump’s first cannabis comment as the Commander in Chief was support for the STATES Act. The real question is how will Speaker Ryan and Leader McConnell react,” NORML Political Director Justin Strekal told Marijuana Moment. “The burden is now on the congressional gatekeepers to pass the bill so we can finally end Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s legal ability to infringe upon the progress we have made in 46 states and unshackle state-lawmakers to end criminalization once and for all.”