President Trump said he likely will support a congressional effort to end the federal ban on cannabis, a major step that would reshape the industry and end the threat of a Justice Department crackdown.
Trump’s remarks put him sharply at odds with Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions on the issue. The bill in question, pushed by a bipartisan coalition, would allow states to go forward with legalization unencumbered by threats of federal prosecution.
Trump made his comments to a gaggle of reporters Friday morning just before he boarded a helicopter on his way to the G-7 summit in Canada. His remarks came the day after the bipartisan group of lawmakers proposed their measure.
One of the lead sponsors is Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), who is aligned with Trump on several issues but recently has tangled with the administration over the Justice Department’s threatened crackdowns on cannabis.
“I support Sen. Gardner,” Trump said when asked about the bill. “I know exactly what he’s doing. We’re looking at it. But I probably will end up supporting that, yes.”
The legislative proposal, which is also championed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), would reshape the legal landscape for marijuana.
California and eight other states, as well as Washington, D.C., have legalized all adult use of cannabis. An additional 20 states permit cannabis for medical use.
But even as states legalize, cannabis has remained a risky and unstable business because of federal law making it illegal. Concerns about federal law enforcement seizures have inhibited most lenders from working with cannabis businesses. And investors have also proceeded cautiously.
A lifting of the federal prohibition would bolster efforts to create uniform testing and regulatory standards for cannabis, and potentially free scientists to pursue research into the medical uses of cannabis.
Trump said he is likely to support the federal legalization effort despite a warning against it from the coalition of narcotics officer groups.
“We urge you to see through the smoke screen and reject attempts to encourage more drug use in America,” they wrote in a letter to Trump Thursday.
Tribune Content Agency