Why is Trump targeting medical marijuana in an election year?

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by burnin1, Feb 12, 2020 at 3:50 PM.

  1. Feb 12, 2020 at 3:50 PM #1

    burnin1

    burnin1

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    From Leafly
    Why is Trump targeting medical marijuana in an election year?
    [​IMG]
    Trump's budget would kill a key legal protection for all medical marijuana patients.

    Ben Adlin February 11, 2020
    Donald Trump has long claimed to support cannabis legalization.


    In 1990, he said the US was “losing badly the war on drugs” and would “have to legalize drugs to win that war.” As a candidate for president in 2015, he said that “medical should happen” while adult-use legalization “should be a state issue.” In 2018, he said he would “probably end up supporting” a bill to end the federal prohibition and allow states to chart their own course.

    But for all his talk, President Trump’s actions tell a different tale. On Monday, the president unveiled his proposed budget for the coming fiscal year, and it’s yet again a sour deal for medical marijuana patients and legalization advocates.

    'The president’s budget would grant permission to prosecutors to go after legal medical marijuana programs.'

    Trump going after medical marijuana patients

    Most notably, Trump’s proposed 2021 federal budget aims to end a key protection for state-legal medical marijuana programs. Cannabis remains illegal under federal law, so the protection works by prohibiting federal law enforcement officials from interfering with state-legal medical cannabis programs.

    “Basically it disallows the [Department of Justice] from using federal funds to go after medical marijuana programs in states where those programs are legal,” said Maritza Perez, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. Those protections have previously been known as the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment, named for the two Congress members who sponsored the rider.

    The provision has been included in congressional spending bills since 2014, inserted as a budget rider—an attached provision that limits how allocated funds can be spent. Trump’s proposed budget scraps that rider, leaving state-legal medical marijuana patients and businesses vulnerable to federal prosecution.

    “Basically what we saw in the president’s budget was granting permission to the DOJ to go after legal medical marijuana programs,” Perez told Leafly. “It’s not something that’s totally unexpected, and in fact it’s in line with this administration’s harsh views on drug policy.”

    Is it time to panic?

    Not yet, no. The president’s annual budget proposal is just that—a proposal. It’s an opening bid. Trump’s move has a long way to go before it becomes law.

    Members of Congress will likely attempt to re-insert the protection before the budget bill goes much further. But Trump’s decision to scrap the provision from his budget is another indication that the president’s support for state-legal medical marijuana is superficial at best.

    Trump acts for prohibitionists

    Trump’s time in office has been marked by overtures to prohibitionists, even as the president has himself claimed to support states’ rights. In early 2018, Trump’s then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions without warning rescinded a Justice Department policy of noninterference with state-legal cannabis, shocking state leaders and legalization advocates alike.

    This is the third straight year Trump has tried to eliminate the critically important protection.

    And just this week, Trump applauded the death penalty as an effective way to discourage drug use, telling a group of state governors that countries “with a very powerful death penalty on drug dealers don’t have a drug problem.” (Fact check: That’s not true.)

    As Kyle Jaeger at Marijuana Moment notes, this is Trump’s third consecutive budget proposal to omit the medical marijuana protection. In each of those cases, members of the House of Representatives revived the provision and the Senate later approved it.

    Last year, the House went further by attempting to extend the provision to all state-legal cannabis, including adult-use programs. The Senate declined to include that more expansive language, but it nevertheless renewed the medical marijuana protections.

    The real action is on Capitol Hill

    Advocates will continue to push for Congress to reinsert the protection into this year’s budget, said Perez at the Drug Policy Alliance.

    “I don’t think it’s going to be a huge uphill battle, just because this is something Congress has agreed with just in the past few years,” she said. “This is an area where I’d say the administration is definitely more conservative than Congress.”

    Even as Trump signed last year’s budget bill, he lashed out against the reauthorization of the medical marijuana protections. In an attached statement, the White House wrote that the executive branch was free to ignore the congressionally approved rider, asserting that the administration “will treat this provision consistent with the President’s constitutional responsibility to faithfully execute the laws of the United States.”

    More money for drug control, pharma research

    Trump’s proposed budget also impacts cannabis on a number of other fronts. In what could be a benefit for pharmaceutical companies trying to develop cannabinoid-based drugs, Trump’s budget would set aside funding for the US Food and Drug Administration to invest in “regulation of cannabis and cannabis derivatives.”

    The FDA is currently developing regulations around hemp and CBD, and the agency approved its first cannabis-derived drug, the CBD medication Epidiolex, in 2018.

    Zero-ing out ONDCP

    The proposed budget would also slash funding for the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), an arm of the White House that opposes drug use, by nearly 90%, from $425 million last fiscal year to $29 million in fiscal 2021. Some of that money would be transferred to the US Drug Enforcement Administration, which the administration says will improve coordination among federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.

    In a statement, ONDCP Director Jim Carroll was silent on the cuts, instead focusing on the president’s increased spending on anti-drug efforts overall. Trump’s budget proposal, the office said, “contains $35.7 billion for counter-drug efforts, an increase of $94 million from the previous year.

    “The FY 2021 budget request sends a strong message that, although we’ve seen signs of real progress, the Trump Administration will not let up in our efforts to save American lives,” Carroll said.

    Keeping a foot on D.C.’s neck

    Trump’s proposal would also continue to prohibit Washington, D.C., from regulating the sale of cannabis—which is legal on all non-federal properties in the District—despite the best efforts of local leaders.

    Voters in the District approved legal cannabis in 2014, but a separate federal budget rider introduced by Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) blocked local officials from establishing retail regulations.

    With his party out of power in the House, Harris no longer has the power to singlehandedly block D.C.’s attempts to make progress on cannabis regulation. But Republicans in the Senate may step in to squelch the possibility of legal retail stores opening locally.

    Trump and cannabis: a political Rorschach test

    Trump’s supporters and opponents have often seen what they want to see in the president’s comments about cannabis. This is in part because his statements lend themselves to various interpretations—sometimes simultaneously favoring and opposing legalization.

    In a leaked transcript from 2018, for example, Trump is heard discussing cannabis legalization during a private meeting. The president initially claims that marijuana is a dangerous drug that causes people to “lose IQ points,” then reassures the room that a federal effort to allow banks to work with the legal cannabis industry is “all working out. That whole thing is working out.”

    Read full story here:
    https://www.leafly.com/news/politics/why-is-trump-targeting-medical-marijuana-in-an-election-year


     
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  2. Feb 12, 2020 at 8:54 PM #2

    hollowpoint

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    There is no cure for what he has...even if it was...he cannot have any of my meds.
     
  3. Feb 12, 2020 at 11:44 PM #3

    umbra

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    pandering to his base, lol what a moron
     
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  4. Feb 12, 2020 at 11:45 PM #4

    stinkyattic

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    So, take way the protections for patients using traditional and old timey green meds, and force them to buy commercial prescription delivery forms of cannabis derivatives. If he were any more transparent in his kowtowing to corporate pharma, he'd be a literal piece of glass. Fragile, like his ego.
     
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  5. Feb 13, 2020 at 3:08 AM #5

    Keef

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    Wow Trump and the GOP going after cannabis?-- Who woulda ever thunk it ?- - But-- Sounds like the GOP in Texas - We gonna pass MMJ !- Maybe ?- One day ?- Sorry we didn't have time to vote on it we'll get back to in the next session -- This will be the 5th time !- The GOP is not a friend to the cannabis community !--They are to be feared when it comes to what they may do to weed law !-- As far as I'm concerned they can all rot inhell !-
     
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  6. Feb 13, 2020 at 3:18 AM #6

    stinkyattic

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    Ever since major elements of the party started acting cultish... far as I'm concerned they're at serious risk of rotting above ground . Anyone got some myclobutanil handy? This is beyond the efficacy of sns244....
     
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  7. Feb 13, 2020 at 10:47 AM #7

    Daxtell

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    Currently, by my count, 40% of citizens living in the US and territories have access to legal cannabis. Another few states are getting it on the ballot this year. The wall has been breached. ~~If~~ When we get an election that has a majority of states favoring cannabis, the battle will switch to taxes and fees to regulate. FOMO and greed.

    Money Republicans that I talk to are wondering about how to be investing in it. I don't think that it's just a partisan point any more.
     
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  8. Feb 13, 2020 at 3:58 PM #8

    The Hemp Goddess

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    Look at the voting--it really is still a partisan issue. Just because "money Republicans" want to invest (exploit) the cannabis market does not mean that they are voting for legalization.

    Please, please everyone, make sure you are registered to vote, educate yourself on the candidates' platforms and vote come election day.
     
  9. Feb 13, 2020 at 8:15 PM #9

    Daxtell

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    Money Republicans are out of power. You are right about votes and I cannot agree more about registering, voting, and would add, writing your legislators. I want our squeaky wheel to get (hash) oiled.
     
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  10. Feb 13, 2020 at 11:33 PM #10

    Hamster Lewis

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    Big Pharma has big money. It is the same reason you have in the Left like Joe Biden saying MJ is a Gateway drug when Science says it is not. Follow the Benjamins.
     
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