As Donald Trump prepares to become President of the United States, the billionaire businessman has been making his cabinet picks known. One of Trump’s most recent announcements for his incoming cabinet is Republican Senator Jeff Sessions. The problem with Sessions is that his position on marijuana legalization conflicts with things Trump said on the campaign trail about where he stands on the controversial issue. Now proponents for legalization are worried that the incoming administration will set the movement back by several years just as many voters are starting to warm up to the idea of legal weed.
In the same election that made Donald Trump the president, Americans voted to legalize recreational marijuana in three more states. California, Nevada, and Massachusetts are gearing up to start selling legal weed along with Washington, Oregon, Colorado, and Alaska. Now, many wonder how Trump’s latest appointment could interfere with the effort to end prohibition in all 50 states.
HEY MILLENIALS! Jeff Sessions is “the single most outspoken opponent of marijuana legalization in the U.S. Senate” – https://t.co/Ge7WW67TLa
— Tommy Vietor (@TVietor08) November 19, 2016
While campaigning prior to the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump made it clear that he would leave marijuana laws up to the states. That brought comfort to many who have worked hard to help get marijuana legalization voted in and Trump was often seen as the most marijuana-friendly presidential candidate.
Did Donald Trump’s appointment of Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions prove that he doesn’t care about the marijuana movement? As Attorney General, Sessions would oversee federal prosecutors and he would be in charge of the Drug Enforcement Agency.
Under the Obama Administration, states really were allowed to enforce their own marijuana laws despite still being listed as a schedule 1 controlled substance as it pertains to the federal law. Where laws permitted, many citizens were able to enjoy medical or recreational marijuana without worrying about federal prosecution but that might all change.
“Good people don’t smoke marijuana” -Jeff Sessions, Trump’s attorney general pick https://t.co/aQM4c615Yi
— VICE News (@vicenews) November 20, 2016
Senator Sessions has made it clear that he didn’t agree with Barack Obama’s stance on the legalization of marijuana and has worked to prevent his own state from allowing those within its borders to partake, according to NPR. Back in April, Sessions voiced praise for the “Just Say No” campaign started years ago by Nancy Reagan and made it clear that he is not in favor of legalizing marijuana.
“We need grown-ups in Washington to say marijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized, it ought not to be minimized, that it is, in fact, a very real danger,” Sessions said during a Senate hearing.
“Good people don’t smoke marijuana.”
Sessions’ attitude toward marijuana legalization doesn’t reflect that of the American people. During this most recent election season, roughly 60 percent of the American public supports the end of prohibition. Also, after the most recent election ended with eight states legalizing either medical or recreational marijuana, proponents of legalization have come to a crucial point in the movement because now, one in five Americans live in a state where recreational use is legal. What will they do if federal prosecutors start enforcing federal marijuana laws in legal states?
— Inc. (@Inc) November 20, 2016
As the legal marijuana industry begins to get bigger and more lucrative, Donald Trump’s presidency leaves questions in the minds of both those who have made a business out of legalization and those looking to take advantage of the product itself. In 2015, legal weed brought in $5.4 billion in profit. Considering that huge number only took a few states into consideration, imagine the kind of profits that could be made if marijuana was legal in all 50 states and how much profit could be lost if Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions put an end to legalization despite the will of the voters.
[Featured Image by Tom Pennington/Getty Images]