Lawmakers in Colorado have pulled back from a plan to regulate marijuana clubs as the Trump administration continues to cast shade on the marijuana industry.
In just under three months, the Trump administration has managed to strike deep fear into the marijuana industry. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have made public comments that suggest a federal crackdown on state marijuana industries could be coming.
However, so far the fear has been just that. Fear. Now we may be seeing some tangible results of the White House’s hostility toward marijuana. Colorado lawmakers have decided to back off of a plan to set up and regulate marijuana clubs. This does not seem to be motivated by any particular comment from Sessions or the White House. However, legislators are fearful that allowing the marijuana clubs to open will invite federal intervention.
“Given the uncertainty in Washington, this is not the time to be … trying to carve off new turf and expand markets and make dramatic statements about marijuana,” Colorado Governor Hickenlooper said according to the Associated Press.
The clubs were not expected to actually distribute marijuana. Members would bring their own and the clubs would function as a place to socialize. The plan had support from many residents, especially those concerned about where tourists can consume publicly. The clubs could have set up an environment where members would consume safely and without fear of arrest.
Although the White House has announced no new actions, all signs are pointing toward a tense relationship between the industry and the Executive Branch. Trump is expected to nominate Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) to lead the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Marino is considered an old-fashioned drug warrior and an ally to Big Pharma.
With Jeff Sessions already signaling a willingness to inject his morals over science and research into his marijuana policy, advocates may truly have much to fear.
“I see a line in the Washington Post today that I remember from the ’80s,” Sessions recently said. “‘Marijuana is a cure for opiate abuse.’ Give me a break. This is the kind of argument that’s been made out there to just — almost a desperate attempt to defend the harmlessness of marijuana or even its benefits. I doubt that’s true. Maybe science will prove I’m wrong,” Sessions recently said.
With statements like that from Sessions (there are plenty more), it is no wonder Colorado lawmakers are weary of the White House.