The all but certainty of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump promises to energize young progressive voters nationwide and could boost votes for legalization, watchers say.
This weekend, the New York businessman and reality TV star Donald Trump earned the endorsement of Sheldon Adelson — cannabis law reformers’ public enemy #1. Along with Trump’s selection of former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to lead his transition team, Adelson’s endorsement all-but guarantees widespread opposition to Trump from voters who care about medical and recreational pot policy.
“Marijuana’s two most dangerous and powerful opponents would literally be right behind Donald Trump during his presidential campaign,” writes Whaxy.com.
Adelson made a fortune off legalized gambling in Las Vegas, and is one of the nation’s chief drug warriors — profiting on mandatory rehab clinics for pot smokers, as well as anti-drug funding from the U.S. government.
Chris Christie has earned the ire of cannabis law reformers for years due to his widely noted opposition to medical marijuana — which about 80 percent of Americans support.
As President, Christie said, “I will crack down and not permit it. We need to send very clear leadership from the White House on down through the federal law enforcement. Marijuana is an illegal drug under federal law. And the states should not be permitted to sell it and profit from it.”
Christie effectively denied access to medical cannabis in New Jersey by delaying the implementation of that state’s narrow medical pot law.
Trump’s new backers, combined with his current positions on medical and recreational cannabis, make him the least progressive on the issue among the remaining presidential candidates. Bernie Sanders has vowed to take cannabis off the federal list of dangerous drugs and leave legalization to the states.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has evolved to support downgrading cannabis to Schedule 2 of the Controlled Substances Act drug schedule — making it equal to oxycontin. Clinton has also said she supports states’ rights to dictate medical marijuana policy.
Trump said in the ’90s that he supported legalizing all drugs. But in 2016, he has said he supports medical marijuana, but hasn’t provided any concrete details on how a Trump Administration would handle the conflict between state and federal law. Marijuana Policy Project grades him as a “C+” on pot policy. Trump has also repeatedly said that legalization in Colorado has generated “a lot of problems” and that he has heard “some very negative reports coming out of Colorado.”
“I’m watching Colorado very carefully to see what’s happening out there. I’m getting some very negative reports, I’m getting some okay reports. But I’m getting some very negative reports coming out of Colorado as to what’s happening, so we’ll see what happens.”
As President, Trump could reverse President Obama’s hands-off approach to state-legal pot, raid lawful providers, as even arrest public officials administering state-legal cannabis programs and taxes.
Sanders’ pollster Ben Tulchin told me that, as the GOP’s presidential candidate, Trump will drive a surge in progressive voters hoping to stop what New York Magazine has called a “neo-fascist” revolution, and “an extinction-level event” for liberal democracy.
Trump has promised to build a useless but symbolic border wall, deport millions of migrants, ban Muslims from entering the U.S., torture terrorism suspects, and murder their family members. The candidate has also encouraged violence against protestors, and Trump staffers have also threatened Republican national convention delegates who do not endorse Trump by releasing their hotel room numbers to Trump’s violent supporters.
“If Trump becomes the Republican presidential nominee, political analysts expect a substantial anti-Trump movement in California during the general election, the first opportunity for non-Republicans to vote against him,” the Los Angeles Times reports.
“To the extent presidential politics creates California coattails, 2016 is shaping up to be a banner year for Democrats,” Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De León (D-Los Angeles) told the Times. “In America’s most diverse state, I fully expect every demographic group he has systematically alienated over the course of this campaign to turn out in droves to vote against him and for Democrats up and down the ballot.”
Which candidate will get your vote?