President Trump: America’s Great Marijuana Savior. It’s an idea that may sound counterintuitive to many Americans who falsely believe that Democrats and their allies on the left have been the sole champions of legalizing cannabis. While the left side of the aisle may traditionally have been more likely to support legalization, no party has ever had a monopoly on the issue.
And now we have a president—one known for his unpredictability—who recently signaled a willingness to support reform. President Trump, whether premeditated or not, is putting himself in a position to make history by becoming the U.S. president who reversed a nearly century-long policy of marijuana prohibition and, in so doing, reap the political spoils of taking on the mantle of “the legalization president.”
This idea is not so far-fetched. Trump has every reason politically to become an unlikely champion of marijuana legalization. Given the overwhelming public support of the issue, legalizing marijuana will certainly improve his chances of reelection in 2020. If he does, the Democrats will have nobody to blame but themselves.
Talk of President Trump’s potential support picked up steam in early June when he stated that he would “probably” support the STATES Act, a new bipartisan bill introduced by Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) that would exempt legal state-licensed cannabis businesses from the Controlled Substances Act, eliminating the fear of federal prosecution, as well as banking and tax issues that currently plague the industry.
But this isn’t new ground for the current president. During the 2016 campaign, in an interview with KUSA-TV in Colorado, Donald Trump was asked if his administration would crack down on cannabis businesses operating in compliance with state laws. His response: “I wouldn’t do that, no … I think it should be up to the states, absolutely.”