Now that California has finally legalized recreational use of marijuana, those who indulge and the ones who make their money from its revenues are warily eyeing how incoming President Trump will view the eight states where it's now legal to use.
Of course, as everyone knows, marijuana is still illegal on the federal level. Outgoing President Obama chose to pick his battles wisely and largely ignored those living in states where it was now legal. What assurances do consumers and others have that Trump will do the same?
They actually don't. Even though 60 percent of those surveyed in Gallup polls support laws that legalize pot usage nationwide, Trump has handpicked an attorney general who makes no bones about his strident opposition to marijuana being legalized.
Just last April, then-Senator Jeff Sessions spoke at a congressional hearing on drugs. He gave testimony wherein he cited the 20 percent jump in the total traffic fatalities in some states where pot is now legal. According to Sessions, there is a direct correlation to the increase, proving to him that pot is a big problem. He also sought to paint the Obama administration as soft on drugs, claiming they changed people's perceptions of drugs as a bad thing.
What changes could the new administration bring to California's relaxed pot laws?
The scenario that will probably emerge is that there in no change to the present status quo. Personal feelings aside, Sessions risks alienating many Republicans who enjoy edibles or having a few relaxing tokes. That blowback could affect the popularity of Trump himself, a man who thrives on his image to the country and world at large.
Trump himself has offered mixed views on legalized marijuana. A hard man to pin down to one position, nevertheless he has never espoused anti-legalization views like Sessions or Vice President Mike Pence.
Two other outcomes appear less likely:
-- Allowing the status quo to remain in place where recreational use is already legal but prevent any additional states from taking the plunge.
-- Recriminalize weed use and possession in states like California where it is now legal.
Only time will tell how this will play out. If changes are forthcoming, those who wind up being charged with marijuana offenses will need to consult with their California defense attorney.
Source: The Motley Fool, "The 3 Most Likely Scenarios for Marijuana With Jeff Sessions as Attorney General," Sean Williams, Jan. 14, 2017