Whether you love him or hate him, President Trump’s opinions on marijuana are going to influence cannabis laws across the United States for the next four years. He’s also in charge of appointing people into several influential positions including a Supreme Court Judge, and the heads of the DEA, and FDA.
Trump’s Supreme Court nominee is Neil Gorsuch, a federal judge from Colorado. Despite being from the first recreationally legal state, Gorsuch hasn’t expressed his opinion on any cannabis legalization efforts. However, it is rumored that he does support the state’s rights to dictate cannabis policy.
Chuck Rosenberg will remain Acting Administrator of the DEA under Trump, and unsurprisingly along with the rest of the DEA, is against cannabis legalization in general. It’s not all bad news though, since 2003 on the orders of previous Attorney General James Cole, the DEA and Rosenberg have generally held off on enforcing federal marijuana laws in the legalized states.
Most promising is James O’Neill, the managing director of Clarium Capital Management, and one of Trump’s rumored possibilities for heading the FDA. O’Neill is both an investor in the cannabis industry and a legalization activist. He was a founding member of the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform’s board of directors, and would likely push for federal legalization if chosen.
What has the President himself said about cannabis legalization? Trump has stated he is “in support of medical marijuana 100%”, but his opinion on legalization is not as clear. In 2016 he said he felt “bad” about legalization, but later in the year during a campaign stop in Colorado, Trump told the crowd he supported state’s rights to legalize cannabis. While federal legalization may not happen anytime in the near future, it seems for now that the Trump administration is planning to respect the choices of the states in choosing their own cannabis policies.