President Donald Trump told reporters this morning that he is likely to support a bipartisan plan to legalize marijuana.
In his comments, Trump referenced the bill put forth yesterday in the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States Act (STATES Act), which would guarantee states the right to determine for the best approach to marijuana within their borders. The bill also extends these protections to Washington, D.C, which had notoriously had trouble with Congress regarding marijuana, as well as U.S. territories.
“I probably will end up supporting that, yes,” Trump told reporters, before boarding Marine One on his way to the G-7 summit in Canada.
The effort is being led by U.S. Senators Cory Gardner, a Republican from Colorado, and Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts. U.S. Representatives David Joyce and Earl Blumenauer put forth the STATES ACT’s companion bill in the House of Representatives this week.
Much of the praise Trump awarded the bipartisan plan for federal support of marijuana was directed towards his fellow Republican, Gardner.
Gardner had spent months blocking DOJ appointees from being confirmed after Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the Cole Memo earlier in the year. But in April, Gardner and Trump came to an agreement and struck a deal. Gardner agreed to lift his roadblock of DOJ appointees, but details were murky about what concrete steps Trump would take to support state-legal marijuana. From an outside perspective, it looks like Trump’s support for this effort may have been those details.
Nobody has been working longer to have a U.S. president say what Trump did this morning than the folks at NORML.
“President Trump’s comments reaffirm his previously private commitment to Senator Gardner regarding his willingness to support a federalist approach to state marijuana laws,” NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri told Cannabis Now. “We are encouraged by his public statements implying his support for this specific piece of legislation and call upon Senator Mitch McConnell to support the will of the majority of Americans who want to see the federal government leave this policy choice to the states and bring this measure quickly to a vote. “
Altieri reaffirmed NORML’s longtime belief that states with legal adult-use marijuana laws and medical marijuana programs should be able to implement them fully, without fear of federal incursion, and businesses operating in those states deserve the same access to banking and other financial services as those in any other industry.
“This measure would be a first step towards finally ending our failed and discriminatory prohibition on marijuana, but it is an incredibly important first step,” said Altieri. “We hope Congress will approve the STATES Act this session and then begin to work towards descheduling marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act entirely.”
The Marijuana Policy Project had similar sentiments on the situation to NORML and hoped the administration would help fast-track the bill.
“The president appears to be sticking to the position he took during his campaign and the comments he reportedly made to Sen. Gardner in April,” MPP Spokesman Mason Tvert told Cannabis Now. “He has a pretty rare opportunity to get behind a truly historic policy change that has bipartisan backing and significant public support. Hopefully, this is a sign that the administration will help push this legislation through Congress, or at least not stand in its way.”
Over at the National Cannabis Industry Association, the idea of a permanent solution to raids by the Department of Justice is obviously a popular idea.
“It looks like the president is really listening to reason and is part of the overwhelming majority of Americans who want the federal government to stay out of state cannabis laws,” NCIA Media Relations Director Morgan Fox told Cannabis Now. “We are happy he is backing this bill and we look forward to his continued support as we push for more comprehensive reforms and fair treatment for the cannabis industry.”
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