Donald Trump may want to think twice before allowing the country’s marijuana industry to fall victim to a Justice Department crackdown.
That promise to invest $1 trillion in rebuilding the country’s crumbling infrastructure? Aside from being rank nonsense — it’s really a package of tax cuts and other handouts to private enterprise — it would also require even more actual investment if the feds start clamping down on recreational cannabis, as various White House flacks have suggested.
Because, you see, actual infrastructure improvements are actually being paid for with marijuana taxes, along with schools, health programs and even fancy new toys for the cops Trump supposedly loves more than Fox News itself — all that could go away if weed-hating, Russia-loving Attorney General Jeff Sessions has his way.
As McClatchy’s DC bureau reported, Colorado and Washington (the first two states to legalize adult-use cannabis and the first two to start reaping the benefits) have been flush with tax cash over the past two years.
Washington has been overwhelmed with tax revenue gleaned from cannabis sales. Revenue doubled to $256 million, on roughly $1 billion in sales — and Gov. Jay Inslee believes marijuana revenue could balloon to as much as $700 million within two years, he told McClatchy.
In Colorado, where $1.3 billion worth of cannabis was sold last year, the state pulled in $200 million. That could go up even more, as Gov. John Hickenlooper recently proposed raising the sales tax rate in order to send more money to schools. In the meantime, cash is streaming to localities as well as the state. One suburban Denver city was able to repave all of its streets thanks to cannabis taxes.
All this has felt at risk over the past week. The cannabis industry has been on high alert since White House press secretary Sean Spicer said last week that recreational marijuana was likely to see “greater enforcement.” And on Monday, Sessions opined that marijuana legalization has led to an uptick in violence. None of that is true, according to Hickenlooper and Inslee, whose states have been the testing ground.
Should Sessions find time in between recusing himself from investigating his boss’s ties to Russia — ties he helped foster — and finding excuses for apparently having lied under oath during his Jan. 10 Senate confirmation hearings to push forward with a cannabis crackdown, the young Trump administration may find itself handed a second defeat courtesy of the state of Washington.
It was Inslee’s attorney general who led the legal fight against the administration’s Muslim travel ban — and Inslee has promised a fight should Sessions and Trump come for marijuana next.
TELL US, do you think a federal cannabis crackdown would backfire against Trump’s administration?