A mere decade ago any standard Republican leader (aside from perhaps libertarian renter Ron Paul) would have been vehemently against marijuana legalization. But today, in 2018, our current Republican administration is anything but standard.
Donald Trump’s controversy-riddled ascension to the presidency has — in equal doses of curiosity and irony — massively transformed the platform, messaging, and general ‘battleplan’ of the Republican party from one of ‘family values’ and limited government to a populist party that has proven willing to wield the federal government as needed.
Be it by imposing tariffs or engaging in much more rigorous immigration control policy than previous administrations, Donald Trump’s White House does things a little differently.
But when it comes to drug policy, the Trump administration had, until recently, been drastically behind the times thanks to Trump’s appointment of notorious anti-drug proponent Jeff Sessions to Attorney General.
As an early advocate for Trump, Sessions’ loyalty was graciously rewarded with the high-profile cabinet position. The Trump cabinet cornerstone was quick to double down on his record of strong interventionist policies when it came to drug laws, including marijuana which enjoys varying levels of legality across the nation despite federal scheduling that puts it on the same level of drugs like heroin and meth.
However, with Trump’s dismissal of Sessions after mishandling the now years old investigation into the President’s potential ties to Russian interference with the 2016 election, the Trump administration finds itself in a uniquely strange place for a Republican administration with a uniquely strange leader.
A Popularity Dream
The rationale why Donald Trump could, and perhaps *should* be the man to finally federally decriminalize cannabis is fairly simple, America at large clearly wants it. The Hill reports,
“More Americans now believe that the adult use of marijuana should be legally regulated. That is the conclusion from the latest nationwide survey on the issue, compiled by Gallup, which has been gauging Americans views on cannabis legalization since 1969.
A record 66 percent of US citizens over the age of 18 — including majorities of self-identified Republicans (53 percent), Independents (71 percent) and Democrats (75 percent) — who now say that “the use of marijuana should be made legal.”
Predictably, support for legalization is strongest among younger adults. Among those 18 to 34 years of age, 78 percent support legalizing marijuana. Older Americans also favor reform. Today, 59 percent of those over the age of 55 similarly legalization — more than three times the level of support expressed by older Americans in the year 2000.”
The writing on the wall is clear as some of the glassware sold for smoking in almost every state in the US; America is destined to do something about currently criminalized cannabis if only by sheer force of political expediency.
Trump, by no means the complete fool media pundits so often seek to portray him as, has been aware of the shifting tides beneath his feet for some time now and has been surprisingly candid about his willingness to participate on the matter even before kicking Sessions to the curb, with the New York Times even reporting Trump’s stated desire to sign a Bill on the issue with bipartisan support from Democrats, traditionally much more open to the idea than their counterparts across the aisle.
However, with those counterparts, no doubt as aware of the overwhelmingly positive opinion towards marijuana legislation to decriminalize the substance as Trump – and in fact hypothetically under his general command – the prospects for Marijuana finally enjoying a better federal status might be more than the smoky dreams of stoners.