Trump Threatens To Pull Federal Cannabis Protections

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The president’s new financial plan for the 2021 fiscal year has dropped, and to few people’s surprise it features a massive uptick in spending on the military and border security, and cuts to student loan assistance and social welfare programs. 

But what about cannabis? The news isn’t great; the document proposes the elimination of a rider that has kept the feds from interfering with state-legal marijuana programs. 

Trump originally expressed his support for medicinal cannabis states’ marijuana rights on the presidential campaign trail. But when he took office, he filled the Justice, Health, and Homeland Security Departments with appointees who subscribe to the Reefer Madness school of cannabis policy. The president’s bellicose border policy likewise hinges on a re-escalation of the War on Drugs.

The 2021 budget isn’t all bad news for the future of cannabis. $17 million has been set aside to fund a national hemp program, clarifying regulation and government assistance to the industry. 

Money has also been earmarked for FDA cannabis regulation research into the plant, which could pave the way to future expanded access for consumers and patients. Even livestock could see slightly more green in the future, according to the document; a sparse $500,000 is destined towards evaluating the use of cannabis in animal products. 

But cannabis-infused animal feed may be of small comfort to marijuana advocates in Washington DC, who once again have seen their hopes of establishing a well-administered recreational cannabis system smashed by the 2021 plan. 

Trump’s new budget continues a ban on the District of Columbia administering such an adult use system with tax revenue. 

Mixed Signals on Marijuana

Despite fear-mongering tactics earlier in his administration, the president has given mixed signals about his views on cannabis. Essentially, marijuana has served as Trump’s legal football, tossing it about as the political winds shift. There is ample evidence that for all the lip service he has paid to state rights, he’s only really a fan of them when it behooves him politically.

Some moments when it looked like Trump would be a cannabis champion were when he told Senator Corey Gardner that state-legal cannabis programs would be safe from federal intervention, and even voiced support for last year’s failed STATES Act, which would have empowered state governments to make decisions on cannabis policy. 

But recently, we’ve gotten proof that in private, the president has some pretty antiquated views on marijuana users. The president said the drug causes consumers to “lose IQ points” in a leaked recording of a phone call with an associate.

This kind of political theater is enough to irritate a marijuana consumer. If you’re having trouble soothing yourself after hearing about Trump’s machinations to leave medical marijuana systems in danger of federal intervention, know that you’re not alone. And if you’re feeling like a grand gesture, perhaps you should roll up a protest blunt and take it out to the White House lawn, à la longtime Trump critic Snoop Dogg. (Ahem, High Times is not responsible for legal action pertaining to such a protest.)

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