Last week, the Trump administration sent shockwaves through the marijuana industry with comments made by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer about the government’s intentions to crack down on the recreational marijuana industry. The comment comes just a little while after 4 new states, California, Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts, joined Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Washington D.C. in legalizing marijuana. This collectively means that about 68 million Americans have access to legal marijuana (approximately 20 percent of the country), making it a multibillion dollar industry that is refusing to take the news lying down. The states with legal marijuana along with the marijuana industry have stated that they will take legal action if necessary to prevent the federal government from interfering with state law.
The Inertia is Too Great to Stop
Spicer stated last Thursday that “there’s still a federal law that we need to abide by when it comes to recreational marijuana” adding “I do believe that you’ll see greater enforcement.” He presented no issue regarding medical use, saying that Trump was sensitive to the fact that it could help people with terminal illnesses but he insists that recreational marijuana use is another matter entirely. Industry experts say that marijuana has come too far now and any crack down will only push the industry underground into the black market. The money and resources at stake for state governments make the loss unacceptable as that money is currently funding a lot. Millions of it alone goes to funding school programs.
“Full Speed Ahead” in California
California officials are ignoring the comments from Spicer and pushing ahead with creating licensing regulations and issuing licenses to sellers, growers and others within the industry. “I took an oath to enforce the laws that California has passed,” says California Attorney General Xavier Becerra in response to Spicer’s comments. “If there’s action from the federal government on this subject, I will respond in an appropriate way to protect the interests of California.” According to the LA Times, Alex Traverso, a spokesman for the California Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation said, “Until we see any sort of formal plan from the federal government, it’s full speed ahead for us.”
Benefits of Legal Recreational Marijuana
There’s an enormous number of benefits to having a legalized marijuana industry. There is less crime, less lives ruined over a harmless act and it’s a safer, healthier alternative to alcohol and cigarettes. According to New Frontier Data, the legal marijuana industry could generate over 250,000 jobs by 2020. The nonprofit Tax Foundation calculated that $28 billion in tax revenue could be generated for federal, state and local governments. These are all pretty convincing, powerful reasons to have a legal marijuana industry in the U.S. and likely why users, the state governments and the marijuana industry are all ready to band together to fight the federal government as a unit if it plans to interfere with state law. For now, Spicer’s words are just that; words. Should anything become more official, we’ll be in for a hell of a fig