President Trump has indicated his support for a bill that would respect state’s rights to legalize cannabis without intervention from the federal government, saying, “We’re looking at it. But I probably will end up supporting that, yes.”

Pres. Trump made the comment to reporters on Jun. 8 before leaving for the G7 Summit in Quebec.

The bill, called the “Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States Act” (aka the STATES Act),  is based upon the 10th Amendment from which it gets its name, which states:

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”

The STATES Act essentially exempts states with legalized cannabis from federal drug law, but that’s only if a state has legalized cannabis- if a state has taken no action, cannabis will be illegal by default.

The STATES Act will also legalize hemp, which has less than 0.3% THC.

What, if any, effect this could have on Canadians crossing the American border into states with legal cannabis is still unknown.

A rare bi-partisan bill in the era of Trump

The bi-partisan bill, which was introduced on June 7, was sponsored by Republican Cory Gardner, a senator from Colorado, and Elizabeth Warren, a Democratic Senator from Massachusetts.

Tump’s potential support is surprising given his at-times adversarial relationship with co-sponsor Sen. Warren, although tellingly, he did not mention Sen. Warren at all while making numerous references to Rep. Sen. Gardner.

Trump’s support would embarrass his anti-cannabis Attorney General

It would be a slap in the face for Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who in January rolled back Obama-era cannabis policies that prioritized going after those who were “peddling pot to minors, selling marijuana across state borders or growing pot on federal land, or when it involved gangs or organized crime,” according to NBC News.

With that policy memo, AG Sessions reversed almost five years of federal drug policy and brought back cannabis prohibition in states that had legalized it! Or, brought back the possibility of prohibition, at least- he left it up to the discretion of federal prosecutors.

Nevertheless, many saw this as Jeff Sessions declaring open season on cannabis and an affront to state’s rights, and Colorado Senator Cory Gardner hit back at the AG immediately with the following Jan. 4 tweet:

This reported action directly contradicts what Attorney General Sessions told me prior to his confirmation. With no prior notice to Congress, the Justice Department has trampled on the will of the voters in CO and other states.

AG Sessions’ did this despite numerous polls (such as here and here) having indicated 60% of Americans support cannabis legalization.

 

Featured image courtesy of Leafly.

Sources

Drug Policy Alliance: New Gallup Poll Finds Record Support for Marijuana Legalization.

Forbes: Congress Launches Bipartisan STATES Act To Protect Legal Cannabis Once And For All.

Inc: Donald Trump’s Surprising Comment: He Will Likely Back Pro-Cannabis Bill.

Leafly: With Trump’s Support, STATES Act Could End Nationwide Cannabis Prohibition.

NBC News: Trump says he’ll probably back marijuana protections bill.