Where Does President Trump Really Stand on Legal Weed?

Where Does President Trump Really Stand on Legal Weed?

President Trump has given mixed messages on his views toward legal marijuana since the campaign trail. And a new report from BuzzFeed News only muddies the waters.

While President Trump called recreational pot “bad” on the campaign trail, he also pledged to respect the rights of states that have legalized marijuana. So far, he’s lived up to that pledge. His pick for attorney general, Jeff Sessions, would eradicate pot from the planet if he could, and the president has done a decent job of keeping him at bay — despite Sessions’ rolling back of the pot-protecting, Obama-era Cole Memo.

But while the president said in June that he supported new legislation in Congress that would protect state marijuana legalization — further stiff-arming Sessions and the Justice Department — documents obtained by BuzzFeed show that the White House has put together a sort of “smear squaddesigned, as 420 Intel puts it, “to counteract positive marijuana messages and identify problems with state legalization initiatives."

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As BuzzFeed News has uncovered, the White House has quietly assembled a committee of federal agencies tasked with combatting “public support for marijuana” and casting “state legalization measures in a negative light,” while also painting pot “as a national threat.”

In a memo, the group — dubbed the Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee — raised concerns that "the narrative around marijuana is unfairly biased in favor of the drug,” and last month directed leaders at the Drug Enforcement Administration and more than a dozen other federal agencies to submit data illustrating the “most significant negative trends" related to cannabis use and legalization efforts. Among those trends cited are the potentially negative ramifications of under-regulated use and the sale of high-potency pot products.

Responding to the report, Justin Strekal, Political Director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), told Forbes the administration’s anti-pot campaign represents “the death rattles of marijuana prohibition."

The magazine also outlined how legal marijuana industry insiders and advocates have repeatedly (and rightly) pointed out that the data supporting cannabis legalization can pretty much stand on its at this point.

RelatedHow Higher Education Is Deliberately Blocking Marijuana Legalization 

No matter what smaller, questionable issues the committee brings up, those issues will pale in comparison to the growing mountain of data showing legal weed’s considerable (and growing) power to help people deal with various health issues, reduce crime, and generate tax revenue and jobs.

So, in light of this new development, where does President Trump really stand on legal weed?

That question can perhaps best be answered by Colorado Rep. Jared Polis.

”President Trump is flailing on marijuana policy, sometimes saying the states should decide, while also allowing the Attorney General and other prohibition supporters in his purview to run amuck,” the Democrat who is also running for governor said in a statement. “If the White House is actually spreading misinformation about marijuana to undercut states’ rights, it’s appalling but not out of the ordinary for President Trump and his gang of prohibition supporters.”