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Trump Would Support Marijuana Protections Bill

By Roger Malespin  photo/istock/rasilja

President Trump said that he would likely support proposed legislation that protects legal marijuana businesses approved by states and shields them from federal injunction. 

"I support Senator Gardner. I know exactly what he's doing," Trump told reporters before taking off in Air Force One to the G7 summit in Canada. "We're looking at it. But I probably will end up supporting that, yes."

He is referring to is the long awaited bill sponsored by Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Cory Gardner, R-Colo., which was released this week. The bill states “The Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act ensures that each State has the right to determine for itself the best approach to marijuana within its borders.”

"This is a states’ right issue," Gardner said in a statement Friday. "I was glad to hear the president’s comments this morning and his continued interest in an approach that respects the will of the voters in each state regarding the prohibition or legalization of marijuana."

Trump is the latest in a string of ring-wing politicians who have come out in support of some form of legalization, including former Speaker of the House John Boehner and former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone. This is not the first time that Trump has seemed at odds with his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions. Back in January, Trump essentially ignored Sessions’ call to overturn the Obama-era hands off policy of the feds regarding states marijuana decriminalization. 

Given Trump’s record of consistent inconsistency, it is difficult to say what will come of his statement. However, the President’s words could possibly be enough to allow house and senate leaders to allow a vote on the bill when it hits the floor. There is a lot of buzz in the cannabis community about it, with The Marijuana Policy Project, a legalization advocacy group, called the bill “the most significant piece of marijuana-related legislation ever introduced in Congress.”

The most important language in the bill is arguably allowing legal bank transactions under state law. Currently, any monetary transactions through banks for cannabis or cannabis derived products legally counts as trafficking, making them far to risky for any business even with the current hands off approach the government is taking. The only way for it to be safe would be to change the law at the federal level, or make the states’ marijuana laws immune to federal jurisdiction.

To be clear, the bill is not an sweeping reform of the current laws. States who have not and do not pass their own marijuana laws will not be forced to obey any others, cannabis products will not be able to be sold at road rest areas and truck stops, and establishes the legal purchasing age at 21, just to name a few things. The focus of this bill is less about recreational marijuana than it is allowing medical marijuana companies to operate much more effectively by untying their hands in their ability to move money. 

A cash only business is not good for business or for safety, and the ever increasing awareness of the benefits of medical marijuana are forcing lawmakers to seriously consider changing some of our archaic and outdated drugs laws.