The world has watched over the last week as President Donald Trump has been making broad sweeping changes in legislation since taking his presidency. Advocates in many areas, including women’s reproductive rights to immigration to the environment (i.e. the Dakota Access Pipeline), have had to watch as the new American President has made radical changes to the nation at the swipe of his pen.
Should the legal marijuana industry be worried?
The threatening forces on marijuana legalization
We all know that Trump’s appointed Attorney General, Jeff Sessions has a very firm stance on marijuana and legalization. He is expected to be demonstrating his intentions for his position in office in the coming weeks, which makes those in the legal marijuana industry wait to see if there will be any attempt to threaten the state-level legalization of marijuana by making changes at the federal level.
Those who are keeping a close eye on things recognize for Trump and his Cabinet to make any changes that could affect the legalization of marijuana at the state level would be a very long and expensive effort that would face a lot of resistance. At the same time, Trump himself in his campaign did not appear to be an overall threat to medical marijuana, but still did not show any indication of ever being supportive of the activities that support recreational sales and use.
President Trump has proven to be an unpredictable force in American politics, so under him, any threat to established legalization efforts may be possible.
Time to hesitate?
Should those interested in becoming cannabis entrepreneurs in states where marijuana is legalized be concerned?
Those who are worried about starting a marijuana business in states that are interested in or at the point of legalization shouldn’t halt their operations. Those that are closely tuned into legislative developments predict that there will be significant growth of legalization efforts in 2017, with possibly 37 legalization bills being enacted in 33 states across the nation. Most of the projected legalization effort would concentrate on medical marijuana, but New England is projected to move towards legalization of recreational marijuana to follow in the wake of states who have gone that way already.
Public opinion is incredibly strong in states that support legislation that any attempt to threaten the measures that have been taken already for legalization would cause a public outcry. 67% of Americans live in states who have undertaken legalization efforts. There is no doubt that if there was an eventual assault on state legalized marijuana, there would be a great resistance from legal marijuana advocates similar in the fashion of other protests that have cropped up in response to the Trump presidency.
Promises of profit for 2017
The industry has potential to become a billion-dollar industry in states that have legalized it. For instance, Colorado made a billion dollars in its legal marijuana sales in 2015; the national projection for the whole industry across the nation in 2016 was $6.7 billion dollars in revenue. With this type of revenue being generated, that also provides new tax revenue, it would be both socially and economically regressive to do away with businesses that infuse money into the economy. In Colorado, the taxes on revenue from legal marijuana sales helped communities address homelessness, send children to college, and fix a number of crucial infrastructure issues.
Keep moving forward
With the threat of changes going on at the federal level in many advocacy areas in our country, the initial reaction may be panic while we wait for change to happen in the legal marijuana industry. People in the industry are trying to remain positive and hopeful, recognizing the gains made in the legal marijuana industry won’t leave the state regulation of marijuana too vulnerable. It’s important to always remain aware of the fact that legal marijuana has been a relatively new privilege and it is up to those who fought for it to continue to demonstrate the legitimacy of the industry. The industry will rely on innovative business, new ideas, and a continual demonstration of customer impact to continually demonstrate its place as an important industry that is relied upon by many Americans.