PORTLAND, Ore. — Legal marijuana is sweeping the nation as voters in several more states gave it the green light in November.
But now weed is in murky waters with uncertainty over how the Trump administration will handle the federally illegal drug.
Pot businesses are worried about their futures but leaders in Oregon are looking to protect the budding industry.
Caleb Tice moved here from Arizona in part because cannabis is illegal there and legal in Oregon. He works at Glisan Buds in Northeast Portland.
“This is one of those things where it’s the beauty of this country. Each state has that ability in certain areas to make those calls,” he said.
Cannabis may seem normal in the Northwest, but it is still a Schedule 1 drug, with the federal government saying it has no known medical use.
The Obama administration let Washington and Oregon do as they wanted, but it’s unclear what will happen under President Donald Trump.
Pot businesses are worried most about Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He’s one of the country’s strongest opponents of marijuana.
What lessens the buzzkill for marijuana businesses is more states have voted for legal marijuana. On Election Day, states with recreational marijuana doubled, and four more greenlit medical marijuana.
“Candidly, marijuana got more voters than Donald Trump in those nine states that he was on the ballot,” said Oregon’s U.S. Earl Blumenauer. “Millions of his supporters voted for it, and this is a train that’s left the station.”
Blumenauer is about to launch the Cannabis Caucus – a group of legislators in Washington, D.C. who work to protect marijuana where it’s already legal.
“So we’ve got to be vigilant. He could mess it up, but I think it’s unlikely,” he said.
As more states legalize marijuana, there’s hope within the industry that no matter how the new administration feels about the drug, it won’t want to squash the growing business.
“Seeing the impact that it’s having, the amount of jobs that it’s creating – just the amount of economic activity is ultimately going to be that deciding factor,” said Tice.
Marijuana remains in a legal limbo, and it’s unclear if that will change in the next four years.
Source: Reed Andrews, KATU News, Friday, February 10th 2017