Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, Trump’s Cabinet pick for Secretary of Health and Human Services, is no better. Price gets a lowly “D” on marijuana policy from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). That low grade didn’t come out of nowhere. Price’s record includes repeatedly voting against every Congressional measure to prevent the federal Department of Justice from raiding medical and recreational marijuana stores in states where they are legal.
Price has, time and time again, voted against measures that would allow VA doctors to recommend cannabis for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and other conditions that could benefit from medical marijuana.That means, with these particular cabinet nominees, there is no denying that there’s legitimate cause for concern. With Drug War hawks Sessions and Price both in Trump’s inner circle, the gains made by the cannabis community during the Obama Administration seem very much at risk of coming to a screeching halt– or even being rolled back.
But will Sessions and Price determine the tenor of Trump’s policy toward marijuana? It’s difficult to say, since Trump’s own sometimes hard-to-decipher pronouncements on the subject have, as usual, been all over the map.
He has both said that he “feels strongly” that marijuana legalization is a “bad idea” and said that Colorado was having a “big problems with it,” but he’s also claimed that he supports the right of a state’s citizens to set pot policy.When asked by Sean Hannity, “Colorado, marijuana. Good or bad experiment? Trump responded, “I say it’s bad. Medical marijuana is another thing, but I think it’s bad. And I feel strongly about that.” The problem with this guy is, nobody really knows what he thinks or will do about weed, because he seems not to have a very clear idea, himself.
In another interview with Hannity, Trump came out even more strongly against recreational legalization. “Some really bad things are coming out in Colorado in respect to people,” Trump said. “So I would have to look at that very, very carefully.”
“A lot of bad information is coming,” Trump falsely claimed. “People were all in favor of it and now, all of a sudden, they’re saying it’s having tremendously damaging effects to the mind, to the brain, to everything. So it’s a big problem.”
It shouldn’t be surprising that Trump’s claims are completely untrue; the people of Colorado, by a wide margin, approve of their state’s legalization law, so the President-elect remains singularly fact-challenged on this, as on so many other topics.
Apart from the minority of easily fooled, weak-minded morons (I’m talking about mental midgets like admin Deirdre O’Gorman of the 420 People group on Facebook) who swallowed, hook, line, and sinker, the transparently fake news story that “Trump Will Legalize Marijuana In All 50 States,” (congratulations for being suckers, you pitiable morons), most of us are deeply concerned.Given all that, Joel Milton, CEO of Baker, a customer engagement platform for dispensaries, understands the industry concern, but he’s hoping for the best. According to Milton, the cannabis industry has so much momentum, it should be allowed to continue.
“As a whole, this year’s election proved to be very successful for the cannabis industry, however, since Trump’s victory and his subsequent cabinet appointments, especially that of Sessions and Price – who are publicly against legalization – there seems to be some uncertainty about how the cannabis industry will be affected,” Milton said.
“Being a businessman, I think Trump understands the economic benefits of legalization – it creates jobs and tax revenue – and, hopefully, so will his cabinet,” Milton continued. “On the front lines, we are remaining cautiously optimistic that there will be a positive outcome. There is too much momentum for the industry to stop or lose ground, if anything, it will only slow its progress – like a speed bump.”
Milton said industry excitement is still running high, fueled by the passage of four out of five recreational marijuana legalization ballot initiatives last month (California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada), along with all three medical marijuana initiatives (Arkansas, Florida and North Dakota).
“Since the election I’ve met with a handful of industry players, including VCs, dispensary owners, cultivators and manufacturers,” Milton told Toke Signals. “I found that those who deal directly with the plant – cultivators, dispensary owners and manufacturers – are still, in large part, very excited, and rightfully so.
“These are folks that are very passionate about cannabis and have been planning on opening or expanding into new markets for a while – regardless of who was President,” Milton said.
“On the other hand, those like the VCs, who are coming at it from as an investment opportunity, where they have an obligation to investors, they are a little bit more cautious at this point,” Milton told me. “They are still excited; but a little cautious.”