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Pro-Cannabis Trump Voters Feeling Betrayed After Sessions Move

January 11, 2018
(Jae C. Hong/AP)
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The Trump administration’s anti-marijuana move has some members of the president’s voting base fuming.

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Fans of President Donald Trump who use marijuana say Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ move to tighten federal oversight of the drug is the first time they’ve felt let down by the man they helped elect. The move feels especially punitive to Trump voters who work in the growing industry around legalized marijuana that has taken root in states of all political stripes.

“Trump needs to realize that a lot of his supporters are pro-cannabis and it would be extremely hurtful to them if he allowed Sessions to move forward with this.”
Damara Kelso, Trump voter & operator of Sugar Shack Farms in Oregon

It remains to be seen whether Trump’s cannabis-supporting voters will take their anger to the ballot box in 2018 and 2020. But pro-legalization conservatives are also chiding the administration’s anti-cannabis move as an affront to personal liberties and states’ rights.

“Trump needs to realize that a lot of his supporters are pro-cannabis and it would be extremely hurtful to them if he allowed Sessions to move forward with this,” said Damara Kelso, a Trump voter who runs Sugar Shack Farms, a marijuana grower in Eugene, Oregon. “It’s not lazy pothead stoners smoking weed all day in their parents’ basement.”

Sessions’ move allows federal prosecutors to decide what to do when state rules conflict with federal. It comes as legalization of marijuana is at an all-time high in popularity with Republicans.

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A Gallup poll from last year found 51 percent of Republicans expressed support for legalization of the drug. It was the first time a majority of GOP supporters supported the idea and represented a jump of 9 percentage points from the previous year. In the early 2000s, only about one in five Republicans agreed with legalization.

Legalization has also flourished at the state level. Maine, Nevada, Massachusetts and California all voted to make recreational marijuana use legal for adults in 2016. It is also legal in Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Alaska and Washington, D.C. Alaska and Maine gave Trump electoral votes in 2016.

Marijuana legalization is typically most popular with the libertarian-leaning wing of the Republican Party. But any such Republicans who felt Trump would be a pro-marijuana president were misguided, said Jeffrey Miron, a Harvard University economist who studies the economics of libertarianism with a focus on illegal drugs.

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Data Dive: Legalization No Longer a Partisan Issue, Election Data Show

Cannabis-loving Trump fans might be experiencing buyer’s remorse, but it’s too early to say whether that could make a difference at the voting polls, Miron said.

“Libertarians certainly knew when he appointed Jeff Sessions that there was a serious risk in an escalation of the war on drugs,” he said. “I think you get what you pay for.”

Still, some of Trump’s high-profile supporters are criticizing the move.

Roger Stone, a former Trump campaign adviser with whom the president has a long and rocky history, shared a video on Facebook on Jan. 7 urging Trump to support legalization and block Sessions’ move. And some Republicans in Congress have also slammed the decision.

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“We have a Constitution to protect people from the federal government,” Republican Rep. Jason Lewis, R-Minnesota, a Trump voter, said in an interview. “This is a longstanding limited-government principle.”

Trump fans who use medical marijuana are also concerned they could lose access to treatment. In rural Fryeburg, Maine, college student Zac Mercauto drives two hours roundtrip, he said, to buy marijuana to manage chronic pain and other health problems. He said he would hate to lose that ability to federal politics.

Mercauto is also one of thousands of Mainers who helped give Trump his sole New England electoral vote. Unlike most states, Maine splits its electoral votes by congressional district, and Trump won the vast 2nd District, home to both New England conservatism and a marijuana culture.

Related

Politicians Outraged: Sessions Move ‘Trampled the Will of the Voters’

Mercauto, who had his picture taken with Trump in 2016, said he is still a big fan of the president. But he believes the anti-pot move is bad for his state’s economy and health.

“I believe it’s going to take a hit at medical marijuana and the industry as a whole here in Maine,” he said. “It’s disappointing to see him take that stab at the industry. And I guarantee you all the tax money the state of Maine from medical marijuana really helps people all around.”

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  • Gary Patrick

    I have been (and in many ways still am) a supporter of President Trump; but that support is in abeyance until either the president replaces Sessions with a pro-10th Amendment libertarian-leaning Attorney General, or simply removes cannabis from Schedule 1 (I hate it when Canada seems more advanced than we are).

    • mf2112

      Jeff Sessions needs to fill up those private prisons he has a big investment in.

    • loosevowels

      Seriously you still support him

    • BA5578

      I agree. I still support President Trump and his conservative agenda, even though Jeff Sessions is ripe with Reefer Madness and refuses to pull his head out of the sand. President Trump is a patriot and a business man, which is why he is working to get the federal government out of our way as much as possible, but he is also a law & order man, which is why he chose Sessions as the AG. He has given Sessions quite a long leash for the last year, but I don’t know how long that will last. Allowing individual states to establish our own cannabis policies was one of the President’s campaign promises, which he seems to take seriously. Sessions needs to get on board or the President needs to give him his walking papers.

      • freewheelinfranklin543

        Trump got $500,000 from the private prison industry. Sessions got jobs as lobbyists with same for some of his senate staffers.

      • calvet11

        I completely agree with you BA, except Sessions head isn’t in the sand BUTT somewhere else.

    • lovingc

      They all ways have been snowflake.

  • Nightmask

    Those in power do not care about the people, all they care about is maintaining and expanding the status quo of power, profit, and control.

  • Gaetan Mugnion

    Gary Patrick, you still support him? The legislature/congress needs to change the laws. The quasi legal laws will never work. Time to reschedule, and legalize cannabis at the federal level. Let freedom ring…..MAKE AMERICA FREE AGAIN!

    • lovingc

      There are several bills that would take care of cannabis but they can’t get a vote because of the republican chair people. They have been blocking all cannabis legislation. Stupid Jeffy knows this and is smirking because of it.

      • Legalize420

        This is VERY true. And the sad fact why we are in this mess.
        Also, it’s sadly obvious Trumps stance as he’s done literally NOTHING nor will he. Trump is a disgrace and so is sessions. Trump had a great chance to get rid of sessions when he reclused. Trump and sessions are on the same level and unless we get a miracle one doesn’t come without the other. Especially as Sessions got that spot for everything he did for trump and his campaign(which was a joke and still won).

        To everyone who voted for him, thank you for ruining this country. Another bad person who loved overt control and domination/control over the people used the Democratic system to rise to power. Then once in power, put his personal cronies in, favored who supported him running, and ruined the country and it’s view/place to the rest of the world.
        This Sound familiar? It should. The name starts with H.

        For better or worse, History repeats itself….

  • Gaetan Mugnion

    Imagine that, manufacturing criminals for the profits of the private prison industry.

  • 213vega

    I hope President Trump intervenes and blocks Sessions or removes him because marijuana legalization is a bipartisan issue and one of the few things dems and republicans agree on. Sessions is on his own on this one, republicans aren’t happy with him either right now. If Trump doesn’t intervene he will lose a lot of supporters myself included. My hope is that Trump will see all the money rolling in and compare that with the cost of enforcing these ridiculous laws and it will be a no brainer.

  • Babaloo

    What? Trump supporters getting burned by the man they elected. Who ever could have thought? Stupid is as stupid does.

    • Fun Please

      If you like your plan, you can keep your plan

      • Babaloo

        I did like my plan and I was able to keep it. And Trump has lied over 2000 times in this first year alone. Didn’t he said he would never play golf or travel as much as Obama? Didn’t he say he wouldn’t touch Medicaid but they are allowing states to kick people off the program so there is another lie. Didn’t he say he knew more than anyone else? We know that is a lie. As I said over 2000 this year alone. What else you got from Obama you stupid MAGAT?

        • Fun Please

          Yeah, everyone kept their plan, it became cheaper, everyone is covered, and finally our veterans get great health care.
          No one ever lies, in political partisan hack style.
          And your boy didn’t let terrorists go to get back a deserter, you phucktard –
          What were you saying, genius?
          Babaloo! Babaloo! Ffs

          • Babaloo

            It is cheaper for a great many more people. If there wasn’t GOP sabatoge more people would be covered but schmucks like you only care about themselves and no one else. And you want to talk troops, Trump wants to privatize the VA so I’m sure they will get the best care when they have to pay for it themselves. Also let’s talk about Niger and how remains were found weeks later of Sgt. Johnson and the government still hasn’t really told us what happened. Plus Trump most likely obstructed justice time and time and time again plus money laundering and profiting off of the taxpayers every chance he gets. You will never win this argument silly little MAGAT.

          • Fun Please

            Once I got to the blame the GOP for life’s realities I stopped reading.
            The health care plan Bammy Care is a friggin disaster.
            It’s why the website Cover Oregon never worked, and wasted billions.
            Dems can’t do anything themselves, then blame right wingers for their failings.
            There is no GOP in Russsia, Cuba, Venezuela, or any other leftist workers utopia. No excuses, you just can’t get it done. Somehow tho, the experiment will be different this time.
            You are a fool, Babaloo. Babaloo.!. Babaloo.!. Idiot, you can’t win a debate with a moron, you only lose your time.
            You are a fool –

          • Babaloo

            And you blame black and brown people for your failings, like the GOP always does. Go support another child molester and serial sexual assault we. You are morally bankrupt.

          • Fun Please
          • Babaloo

            All you do is deflect from Trump. You can’t even defend him. He is a disgrace to this nation and our species. And so are you.

          • Fun Please

            I don’t have any illusions about Trump. I find some of his behavior rather boorish and infantile.
            But, as a combat veteran, when Bammy let terrorists go, to get a deserter back, I was done.
            And with the racist sexist misandrist hiring paradigm of the left wing, you are the disgrace.
            That’s why I can never be a leftist. While the US is not perfect, it’s better than most. And I don’t hate anyone, even white men get a pass with me.
            I suggest you take a long hard look in the judge by Equal Standards mirror sir. For a while.

          • Babaloo

            You should be ashamed with yourself siding with Nazis and Russians. You are a disgrace to your uniform.

          • Fun Please

            You don’t know what you are talking about economically (education/history) or militarily.
            I’m a n socialist and communist killer. A true Capitalist.
            You, sir, are the disgrace, I assure you. With the antifa domestic terrorist propaganda
            Combat word and honor.
            Go look in that mirror son. You have some thinking to do. I support your freedom to enjoy cannabis.
            Think more

          • Legalize420

            It’s, cheaper and more vets may have coverage now, but in the long run by 2027 or so 13 mil people including myself will loose Medicare/Medicaid/health insurance . Also, by about 2027 or in 8 years or so only those making over $990,000,000+ a year will get tax breaks and everyone else will be paying more sadly or have MUCH less/no coverage.

            We have coverage now but let’s talk in 3-5 years. I am not a Dem or Independent but it’s clear as day that his actions are going to add to the epidedemic and do nothing to help it.

            Just because you personally can’t afford something doesn’t mean you should be ignored. What’s gonna happen when people who are sick not criminals have their insurance cut and can’t stay in treatment?
            Ignoring them/us and blindly locking everyone up who simply needs help is why we have this issue in the first place. Illness doesn’t discriminate.

            Great right??

          • Fun Please

            2027 not far away.
            I don’t know where you get your information. I hope not university. Do you have a link for your tax break statement? It doesn’t pass the sniff test.
            Drafted Veterans should come first.
            We have an epidemic now. 22 Veterans kill themselves everyday.
            It’s hard for me to worry about those who don’t worry about me.
            No, not everyone deserves the best medical care free. Who do you expect to go to school for all those years, and provide all that expensive equipment? I expect you to do something for yourself.

            I see you with no solutions, but only problems. That’s not the right way my friend.

        • Gz7

          Everyone should be kicked off Medicaid. It’s unconstitutional. For you libs, that means against the law, a crime.

    • Gz7

      I’m one, and not bothered at all, which makes your statement a lie.

  • Fun Please

    Sessions mentions something about a memo, snowflakes come unglued, and I’ve never meet a pot smoking supporter of Trump. Who didn’t say anything about the memo, but that doesn’t fit the narrative. Maybe the pot smokers forgot, thinks the propaganda master, I mean article writer.

  • lovingc

    Here is a news flash Trump has no say one way or the other. The DOJ is separate from Trumps whims. All he can do is fire the AG and that will start another political storm.

  • Black Sheep

    Trump really sucks, I voted for him thinking he would do a better job. Evidently he doesnt know his head from his ass. I will not Vote for him next term.

    Veteran. U.S. Army

  • Black Sheep

    Jeff Sessions is old school, someone needs to kick his ass out of his position. instead of going with new technology, he is taking us backwards. GET OUT JEFF, YOURE IN AMERICA’S WAY.

  • Jimmy Gilbert

    Look it is simple. Just legalize marijuana the same as alcohol. Or make alcohol illegal. No body ever died or killed anyone on weed alone. Ever.

  • Henry DeFeo Sr

    I’m just gonba do what I been doing for 50years! Very easy to grow high grade! And the net we’ll tell you all ways off making edibles! Dispensers are too damn expensive!

  • Mark Ducharme

    Fire Sessions

  • TOPDOG1

    Jeff Sessions; His inbreeding is becoming apparent. He has several (if you notice) missing genetic characteristics. Intelligence, not the only one. His distorted and twisted view of reality is seriously in question. Just another greedy corporate puppet, Big Pharma or Big Oil occasionally dress’s him, feeds him and then dangles him in political forum’s. His ‘Igor’ personality would do better in a Dracula movie than public office. Trump’s number one Toady. I certainly object to an inbred Keebler Elf being allowed to make decisions that affect or are forced upon me. He should have never been allowed into any position of public responsibility.

  • Gz7

    As a longtime canabis user I find this to be fake news. My support for Trump hasn’t wavered one bit. So, as we see once more
    these journalists wil say anything to prove their partisan wishes.

  • patriot156

    First off in Paul Ryan’s state and Kentucky you people need to light up their phones and write them to bring to vote Cory Bookers bill, and the one that is in the house as well. Legislation exists in both the house and senate, but as long as Ryan stonewalls, and McConnell they wont get heard.

  • patriot156

    only voted Trump because of his second amendment stance, hated Hitlery any how. Wont do that again though.