What Does President-Elect Donald Trump Think about Medical Marijuana? A Florida Attorney's Opinion.
Posted on November 18, 2016 by Jeffrey FeilerPresident-Elect Donald Trump has made several recent statements that lend insight into his views about the marijuana industry. The statements he has made to-date were made during the campaign, and as we all know, candidates sometimes reflect what they want a particular audience to hear. Nevertheless, taking him at his word, it appears that he is 100% in favor of medical marijuana and respecting state's rights to make their own laws. I am an experienced medical marijuana lawyer, and would like to share a thorough look at Trump's stance on the issue. I have added a few predictions below for what a Trump Presidency will mean for marijuana business owners.
"In terms of marijuana and legalization, I think that should be a state issue, state-by-state… Marijuana is such a big thing. I think medical should happen — right? Don't we agree? I think so. And then I really believe we should leave it up to the states."
-Donald Trump via the Washington Post, October 29, 2015
Marijuana Is Good for Trump's Proposed Economy
Marijuana has been a very productive addition to many states' economies and has been added recreationally or medically to eight state constitutions during the 2016 election. Donald Trump has stated that he wants to grow our economy by 4% next year. Given this goal, it would be counterproductive to put an end to thousands of businesses principally owned by middle class entrepreneurs who employ tens of thousands of Americans.
Trump also wants to cut taxes. The marijuana industry raises hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue, saving the taxpayers from going into their pockets.
The simple fact is that Trump is an entrepreneur and a builder. It would seem consistent with his personality to respect individual rights, rights of business people, and rights of the States. My bet is that the industry will be safe. Trump has his hands full with making America great again, international trade policies, immigration policies, health insurance, the Supreme Court, and other important considerations. I think the issue of whether to allow folks to indulge in the privacy of their homes will not be on his priority list.
Is Trump in Favor of Recreational Marijuana?
Donald Trump has reservations about recreational marijuana legalization and is reserving his opinion based upon the idea that research will reveal whether it poses a health hazard. In an in-depth discussion with Bill O'Reilly in June of 2015, O'Reilly asked Trump to view medical marijuana as a gateway or a "ruse" to push the drug throughout the country to states where it is not currently legal. During a second interview, Trump emphasized that it was the states' right to legalize marijuana and the need for more research. "I would really want to think about that one, Bill. Because in some ways I think it's good and in other ways it's bad. I do want to see what the medical effects are. I have to see what the medical effects are and, by the way — medical marijuana, medical? I'm in favor of it a hundred percent."
On the implication that the drug does not have medical benefits, Trump replied, referring to medical marijuana, "But I know people that have serious problems and they did that they really — it really does help them." -Donald Trump, February 12, 2016
A Medical Marijuana Lawyer's Prediction
Since marijuana research in the United States hardly exists due to federal restrictions, I doubt that any studies will be forthcoming over the next year. My feeling is that Donald Trump will leave the existing industry in place and will so direct his Attorney General. If you're still worried that Trump may swing the other way on the marijuana issue, I think it's important to note that his stance towards medical marijuana and pro-legalization has been developing as far back as 1990. Here's a quote from the Miami Herald, over 25 years ago:
"We're losing badly the War on Drugs. You have to legalize drugs to win that war. You have to take the profit away from these drug czars."
As a medical marijuana lawyer, I think business owners have little to worry about from the new president-elect. With over half the country entering the marijuana industry in some form, now is the time to enter in a successful, legal medical business. If you are interested in consulting on the Florida medical marijuana industry, contact Feiler Marijuana Law at (305) 662-5663 and get started.