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President Trump Will ‘Probably’ Back STATES Act to End Federal Prohibition

June 8, 2018
President Donald Trump said he supported the STATES Act Friday. (AP File Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)President Donald Trump said he supported the STATES Act Friday. (AP File Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
President Donald Trump chimed in Friday morning on pending plans to end the federal war on marijuana in legalization states.

Speaking to a gaggle of reporters on his way to a summit in Canada, Trump reiterated his support for a states’ rights solution to the federal–state marijuana policy conflict. Speaking on US Sen. Corey Gardner’s newly introduced STATES Act, Trump said, “I support Gardner. I know exactly what he’s doing. We’re looking at it. But I probably will end up supporting that, yes.”

President Trump’s comments were but one of many after Gardner (R-CO) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced the bipartisan bill Thursday to end federal marijuana enforcement in legalization states.


FAQ: What the STATES Act Would Do, and Why It’s a Game-Changer

President Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions told Colorado Public Radio that he did not get to weigh in on the White House’s talks with Gardner and said cannabis remains federally illegal. “I was not a participant in the meetings he had at the White House,” Sessions said. “We are not guaranteeing—and cannot guarantee—persons who use or distribute marijuana are protected from federal prosecution.”

As expected, lobbyists for state and federal narcotics officers came out against the bill. The National Narcotics Officers’ Associations’ Coalition (NNOAC) in Washington, DC, stated in a letter to the White House on Thursday that the proposed STATES Act “attempts to encourage more drug use in America.”

The NNOAC’s statement is co-signed by powerful, unionized public employee groups: National Sheriffs’ Association, Major County Sheriffs’ Association, Major Cities Chiefs Association, National Narcotics Officers’ Associations’ Coalition, National High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Directors’ Association, and Law Enforcement Action Network.

The narcotics officers’ group also said state-level legalization in nine states is fueling a black market in others.


Study: Legalization Reduces Crime in Border Towns

In response, critics of federal prohibition say ending the failed US policy solves the problem of interstate cannabis commerce by regulating it.

“If every state were to start regulating marijuana similarly to alcohol, illegal marijuana trafficking would be about as prevalent as bootlegging moonshine.”
Mason Tvert, Marijuana Policy Project

Cannabis law reform leader and Marijuana Policy Project spokesperson Mason Tvert responded to the NNOAC in an email: “Not surprisingly, the guys who get paid to fight illegal marijuana cultivation and distribution are fighting to keep all marijuana cultivation and distribution illegal,” he wrote.

Tvert continued: “They say they are concerned by illegal market activity, but they are fighting states’ efforts to replace that illegal market with one that is regulated and tightly controlled. If every state were to start regulating marijuana similarly to alcohol, illegal marijuana trafficking would be about as prevalent as bootlegging moonshine.”

Cross-border marijuana flows predate legalization efforts by decades, Tvert noted. “There is significant demand for marijuana in every U.S. state. In those that have opted to legalize and regulate marijuana, that demand is largely being met by licensed, tax-paying businesses. In the states still clinging to prohibition, that demand will continue to be met by the underground market until they create a legal alternative.”

Tvert is also correct that federal drug war funding pays NNOAC members’ salaries. The federal High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program alone disburses more than $250 million per year to joint federal–state anti-drug task forces. Since 1988, the once-limited program has swollen to include all 50 states.

The NNOAC also claims legalization in Colorado has made residents less safe.

Gardner, a conservative Republican with roots in rural farming, rejected the NNOAC’s assessment. Stating in a video Thursday that he also rejected legalization at first, he said that “if the election were held today, I believe Colorado voters would vote by an even greater margin to move forward with legalization.”


Sen. Cory Gardner: How a Prohibitionist Became Legalization’s Defender

Moreover, he continued, “We have a number of states now that have this conflict, and it simply needs to be addressed.”

Polls this year support Gardner’s assessment.

We’ll have more on the STATES Act as it develops.

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Leafly Staff

Leafly is the world’s largest cannabis information resource, empowering people in legal cannabis markets to learn about the right products for their lifestyle and wellness needs. Our team of cannabis professionals collectively share years of experience in all corners of the market, from growing and retail, to science and medicine, to data and technology.

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  • lovingc

    Well Jeffy the moron has thrown you under the buss on your favorite herb. You still believe you are right and the rest of the country is wrong? You need a check up from the neck up. One more thing cannabis does not cause violence it reduces it. Your ignorance and bigotry are going to be your down fall.

    • Dawnyb

      AMEN! You said it all right there!

    • Mark Skinner

      Yep, lovingc; I have NEVER heard of someone committing any violent crime whilst under the influence of THC. Stoned pot smokers are too blissed out and loving to be bothered with REAL criminal acts. This is good news if POTUS doesn’t change his mind !

  • LBS

    God Bless President Trump

    • Ebo

      Go! Eat yer sammich, take yer meds then go out and play Larry!!

  • Chaddy Liquor Tits

    C’mon Mr. Prezzy-wezzy … DOO ITTT!!! Don’t be like that dick Reagan .. take a stand for nature!

    • Benny Thornton


  • Fester

    This bill will never get passed the republican controlled legislature and drumpf will do nothing to help it. Drumpf gets to piss sessions off without losing any prohibitionists support.

    • Sonny Cole

      b.s. there are a lot of repbs who are in favor of changing the cannabis laws.

      • Fester

        Ever heard of Pete Sessions. He’s blocked every cannabis piece of legislature for the last few years. Until the dems take back the house this bill never gets to a vote.

  • Etidorhpa

    I love him more now than ever! Go make peace Mr. President.

  • Mister Buckley

    So much taxpayers cash has been wasted on a failed drug war. Humans will do drugs or create what they need to get the euphoria. Some will die. No more than any other way to expire.Legalizing MJ will slow down the heroin epidemic in the USA which has reached massive numbers.

  • Christine

    Trump says one thing Monday morning, changes his mind by noon, then tweets something totally different that night. I don’t trust him as far as I can throw him.

    • northern lights

      Trust me then, I can make you happy.

    • Wide Awake In America

      Tis true.

    • justadbeer

      Your bang on.

  • Rainey

    Unlike the opium poppy (papaver somniferum), LSD and meth, cannabis can be (and is!) grown just about anywhere. The government’s frantic attempts to “control” it are as useless and wasteful as their silly “war on drugs”. When people speak angrily against logic and rational proof, as law enforcement groups do when attacking cannabis, it’s obvious money is involved.

    Millions of dollars in asset forfeitures were lost to state and local agencies when they could no longer arrest citizens for smoking a joint, and their drug-fighting appropriations — tied to arrests and convictions — subsequently declined. Legalizing cannabis hit the drug warriors right where it hurt them the most: in their pockets! Of course they’re whining and moaning about the evils of weed. It’s so much easier and safer to go after cannabis users than the violent drug cartels who shoot back!

  • 360dunk

    What these blind fools don’t realize is that marijuana use DECREASES dangerous drug use. Everywhere pot goes legal, opioid use and abuse drops significantly. Sessions will fight this to the bitter end and isn’t it telling that the nation’s top law enforcer wasn’t even invited to the discussion? Trump knows now that the cannabis freight train cannot be derailed and it’s best to stay away from the tracks if he has any desire to be re-elected. He’s wise to distance himself from unenlightened half-wits like Jeff Sessions, whose game plan is to keep marijuana illegal which results in strengthening the very enemy he’s declared war on – foreign drug cartels. “Let’s keep putting American weekend pot smokers in jail and banning dispensaries, thus making drug smuggling more profitable for the Sinaloa cartel.”

    • Mark Skinner

      Yeah 360dunk. Even though I live in Australia I have been following this progression towards complete legalisation right across the USA. And I have yet to hear anything bad happening because it’s been legalised in one State or another. No crazies running around frothing at the mouth and committing heinous crimes……nada, nothing negative coming from legalisation ! Then if it is legalised in America maybe Australia follow suit. And the cops could shift their focus to REAL CRIMINALS instead of putting people in jail for having a little bag of buds. Although I must say that in Australia the worst thing that you get for a simple “possession” charge is a slap on the wrist. But it’s still ILLEGAL which means that we cannot freely make real quality MaryJane openly. This is great news ! Do it Donald, maybe it will get you re-elected !

  • OldDog

    How can anyone in this country believe a word that bloated orange carcass says? Unless it’s about him, or it makes him $$, he could care less about this, or any, legislation. He switch and blow everyone off at the twitch of a finger.

    • David St Lawrence


    • Sonny Cole

      you are full of shit, old puppy,trump has said from the start he would leave it up to the states what they wanted to do about cannabis.take your hate somewhere your eyes and look how much good trump has done for the american people.
      and yes trump is saying it is about $$$ because he knows how much money there is in the cannabis market and how much tax money there is in cannabis.

      • Scooter Bell

        He’s a member of the Republican party, which needs to ALL come over to the cannabis side too – that always seems to be a royal pain in the patootie to happen. And for what the PTOS has done, he hasn’t been in office long enough to judge yet. I remain neutral.

      • PGcorky

        I’m looking at all the good Trump has done for wealthy Americans – like his big tax cuts. Farmers? Foreign countries promise to increase tariffs on soy and corn after Trump puts tariffs on steel and aluminum. The working poor? Trump has worked with his Republican sycophants to destroy affordable care, and now they’ll screw people with pre-existing medical conditions. (Weird, right? After his campaign promise to “take care of everybody”) If Trump was so interested in letting states do what they want, why are we even having this discussion? He’s been in office for a year and a half and nothing has changed.

        • Excuse me

          Affordable care? We haven’t seen that in any way shape or form, except for the people who had no insurance to begin with, and many never participated in the exchanges, so one of the originators of this fiasco, United Health, has dropped out. No Democrat or Republican can solve this now, thanks to ObamaCare and Obama’s “sycophants”.
          Tax cuts? Wealthy Americans? That song is out of tune. My 26 y/o daughter works in Texas, makes about $60K at her regular job. She received $1000 bonus from the lower corporate capital gains taxes Trump’s bill contained, and her company passed on–you know, the “chicken feed” Nancy Pelosi complained about from her Pacific Heights mansion.
          She bought a camera with it and started a photography business. Since then she has eclipsed her regular income, hired a second shooter for weddings and bought new cameras. She now makes about $100K from the photography business alone, and still works her other job.

    • patriot156

      Probably but he does support states rights which is his stance on Gun control so far. Although pro gun advocates are being thrown under the bus in states like Florida and others now, but I guess…. Meh!

  • Sonny Cole

    why would anyone want to buy cannabis from the black market?

    • Scooter Bell

      I wouldn’t, I could see why, though: Unrestricted trade, no rules, no state lines – where it’s not recreationally legal. If this legislation happens, fantastic! The PTOS is a variable kind of guy, and politics are in play. So when it’s signed, then I’ll believe it. Otherwise it’s just talk. Again.

  • Dawnyb

    Mr. President, keep on rockin in the FREE world! 😃

  • farmerlion

    We are slowly getting to the place we have been voting too. Maybe in the next election the candidate’s will be of much higher quality than Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Elected officials are only to think on our behalf when it’s not an elected measure. When we pass a measure, carry it out to the letter!!!
    That means home growers are legal, any plant count on their private land.

  • Kenton Crowley

    This situation exemplifies the failure of our government to put aside special interest as well as ignoring the PEOPLES VOICE and NOT base policy on SCIENTIFIC facts. We are now 18 months following the Natinoal Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicines report on “The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research” identifying 3 unequivocal medical indications for the use of cannabis in medicine. That means that the continued CRIMINAL and DISCRIMINATORY classification by our federal government for cannabis (marijuana) in schedule 1 (no recognized medical indication for the substance) is HARMING, not protecting the PEOPLE they have a responsibility and duty to do. I see and have reported clinically relevant science in regards to its value in chronic noncancer pain and its impact on opiate use. There is no question regarding its clinical efficacy, safety and impact on opiate use now. Many well designed studies this year have documented what has been published in the past. There is a power struggle in our country trying to keep business as usual, fund prohibition and police activities because of the need to keep jobs that are harming our citizens, not helping in most cases. Prohibition is a failed policy. It has never worked. The only solution is to continue to disrupt the entrenched bureaucrats by using our VOTE. Remove the blockers. Engage with your city councils, make your voice heard. Demand science dictate the direction of cannabis as a wellness adaptogenic herb that should be freely available to all citizens around the world! I hope that these ignorant people in power see sooner than later, and I hope not personally, the value of cannabis in medicine. LETS STOP THE MISINFORMATION!

  • TOBY T

    Life on this miserable rock will improve when we figure out how to remove GREED from ourselves. Until we fix that problem, we’re pissing in the wind.

    • Excuse me

      Eliminating biology soon, are you, Siddhartha?

  • Laura P. Schulman

    He could back it….or he could back out. Just depends on what kind of tantrum he’s having that day….

  • Mark Skinner

    I think that I like President Trump ! No, not really, but this would be the first thing that he could do that I take a positive view of. Do it Donald !

  • Linda Vee Sado

    Trump has been saying this all along, but the propaganda news media has people so brainwashed with hate they won’t listen to the truth anymore

    • PGcorky

      Okay, he’s been “saying this all along”, but I must be brainwashed with hate to wonder why he’s done nothing in his year and a half in office.

  • lovingc

    You narcs need to suck it up and find honest jobs instead of the scam you have been living off of for 45 years. The scam is over for you. Get used to it all of your lies and evil destruction of peoples lives over a plant is a thing of the past and you will not be missed.

  • Paul Sorensen

    I really think President Trump is more of a Libertarian at heart. That’s why the old guard Rinos and never-Trumpers hate him. It’s a breath of fresh air to hear him talking about leaving states alone. And I believe he doesn’t like Jeff Sessions either. It will be a fine day when he signs this bill.

    • PGcorky

      He actually has no heart, no actual beliefs, nothing other than love of fame and ratings.

  • justadbeer

    I don’t trust him, nor any other politician (but him mostly) There are truly very few politicians that are in favor of legalizing / rescheduling cannabis unless it in one way or another helps them politically or financially. ALWAYS follow the money. (how many politicians have you EVER saw not retire as a millionaire?) We worked hard getting petitions signed here in Mich to put legalized recreational cannabis on the November ballot. When the politicians figured that it was a loosing battle for them, they tried to do an end run around it last week and proposed a vote to legalize it last Tuesday. This way they can amend the wording on the original ballot, jack taxes as high as they want and pretty much have total control as to how it it used, distributed, sold, etc. They are ALL pond scum.

  • patriot156

    Sessions needs to be fired but Rosenstein first which is what Sessions said if Trump Fires Rosenstein, he’d quit. So yeah get rid of the old guard.

  • patriot156

    Question is though…. What does this do for those of us who venture into casino’s? Most any door as you go in says regardless of legalization if you’re caught with marijuana in the Casino you’ll be sent to the federal Govt, and face federal charges. I’d hope that since this would not allow the federal Govt to enter or enforce federal law in legal states this would allow one to posses a bag in their pocket while in the casino and if it falls out or something they would not be able to mess with you then?

  • Apparition

    There will be a great deal of lobbyist $$$ headed towards DC in support of this legislation. Our lawmakers are normally influenced by promises of new jobs, increased tax revenue and lots of contributions.

    Trump is a pragmatist rather than a narrow-minded prohibitionist ideologue. And his latest statement is a positive sign.

    So, as long as the professionals on our side handle this opportunity responsibly, federal descheduling of cannabis is now a real possibility.

    • PGcorky

      I fear that the lobbyists working for Beer & Distilled Spirits might not like legalization and have big bucks to spend. Check out OpenSecrets to see how much money they’re throwing around.

      • Apparition

        No doubt.

        But Trump gave us an opening.

        Now our side is in the game & can fight back!

  • Sy Katus

    The war on drugs is genocide. Punishing people who have a different way of life who have not unjustly infringed into any other or others life liberty or property is genocide. If there were true justice for narcs and their associates they would be in lock up for 20 to life in must cases. Murder, kidnapping extortion are a few of the charges. As the sheriff of Nottingham suggested when heroin addicts were given free controlled shots of heroin there was no crime, by addicts getting funds for drugs. No addicts died of overdoses. There was no need for emergency services to pick up dead or OD sufferers. It turns out the laws against it were doing all the damage they blamed on users and the drug business. It was that way with all so called illegal drugs.