The Future of Legal Pot Under Trump: Marijuana Entrepreneurs Speak Out

We asked entrepreneurs in the marijuana industry to react to conflicting statements coming from Trump, Jeff Sessions, and Sean Spicer.


"I see the future of the marijuana industry under the Trump administration as, in the short term, a little cloudy," says Adrian Sedlin, CEO of Canndescent, California's first licensed marijuana grow operation. "But when I say cloudy, it doesn't mean the skies are dark. It just means it's unclear."

Uncertainty is not new for the marijuana industry, which saw an increase in medical dispensary raids in the early years of the Obama administration despite statements from the president and his attorney general Eric Holder assuring voters that they would respect state law. Obama's Department of Justice mellowed out a bit in his second term and more or less abided by the Cole memo, which directs law enforcement to direct enforcement efforts towards operations selling to minors, growing on public land, or selling over state lines.

On the campaign trail, Trump's statements on the issue sounded reassuring to many advocates of legalization.

"I think medical should happen, right? Don't we agree?" Trump asked an audience at a rally in Nevada, a state whose voters would choose to legalize the drug for recreational use later that year. "And then I really believe you should leave it up to the states. It should be a state situation."

But Trump's appointment of enthusiastic drug warrior Jeff Sessions as attorney general concerned many who want to see cannabis legalized. While Sessions has made it abundantly clear in recent public statements that he's no fan of marijuana legalization, he hasn't called for an all-out crackdown in the 28 states that have legalized pot in one form or another.

"States, I get, can pass whatever laws they choose," he told an audience at the National Association of Attorneys General earlier this year. "But I'm not sure we're going to be a better, healthier nation if we have marijuana being sold at every corner grocery store."

Trump's press secretary Sean Spicer has made similarly ambiguous statements, seeming to want to draw a hard distinction between medical and recreational cannabis.

The American public, on the other hand, appears fairly unified on this issue. Medical marijuana enjoys broad public support, and a recent Quinnipiac poll shows 71 percent of Americans believe the federal government should refrain from interfering in states that legalized marijuana for medicinal or recreational use.

In the video above, we asked several entrepreneurs working in the marijuana industry to react to statements from Trump and his administration officials and to give their forecasts for the future of legal pot under the new administration. Watch to find out what they said.

Approximately 6 minutes. Produced by Zach Weissmueller. Camera by Alex Manning and Weissmueller. Additional graphics by Josh Swain. Music by Freeharmonics.

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  1. Wait, you mean Sessions is a actually going to respect states laws? That would be great, but I would not bet on it just yet. That dude is gonna find himself some crusade or other.

    1. The DOJ has a full plate with immigration right now. So I wouldn’t worry about it unless they really start telegraphing otherwise.

      1. Sessions’ saber rattling isn’t helping the situation either.

  2. Did Sessions say he was “doobie-ous” about marijuana?

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  4. Is Barack Obama rejoining the choom gang?

  5. Hmmm, so if say, Kentucky says they want to legalize the new manufacture of machine guns, the feds will respect state laws? Just asking.
    And what’s the big millions to be made from legal marijuana? Just grow the stuff yourself, unless there are massive regulations put in place that only huge companies can afford to comply with.
    I guess only certain laws are to be complied with, screw that whole nation of laws and not men stuff.

    1. Good point. Already put to the test. Montana Firearms Freedom Act. Held invalid and it didn’t even allow full auto.

      Everyone doesn’t have a green thumb or the time.

    2. “And what’s the big millions to be made from legal marijuana?”

      Selling supplies to home growers?

      1. selling pot to people who smoke it happening now making big bucks got it

      2. I don’t see it. But I am not an expert on the growth of marijuana. But I grow some pretty expansive vegetable gardens without much. But you may might be on to something.

  6. After hearing the BS right out of Reefer Madness spouted by our state Republicans (one who is now in the federal House) when we got MMJ I’ll be amazed if they don’t crack down. I’ll be completely shocked if Congress does anything positive and as long as the feds say you lose your 2nd Amendment rights because you’re sick and use this medicine but much stronger medicines are OK we don’t really have any type of legal marijuana, we have a trade of something they might not arrest you for in exchange for a right they wish you wouldn’t have.

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  8. It’s surprising that Reason would join in calling cannabis a “drug.” It’s no more a drug than coffee beans or tobacco.

    1. Define “drug.”

      The definition of “drug” is far, far too confused these days. Too many folks create their own unique definition for the most part. As a healthcare professional (ret.) I studied pharmacology, especially narcotic and other pain/symptom management deeply, as well as the physiology of the human body and how different things – including foods and other substances – affect it.

      A “drug” is one word given to a substance that has a specific affect on the body, or some particular subsection of that body. So are nutrients, electrolytes, many others. And so, almost anything taken into the body fits that description. As an example… Seems rather disingenuous for so many people to believe that a “drug” prescribed by a doctor is somehow good and right, but that same drug or other substance (of which they disapprove), when self administered, is completely evil and bad for “society.”

      So, the working definition of most people who oppose the use of cannabis (not to mention anything else) is usually based at least in part on emotion and the desire to control what other people have and do… certainly not on any honest scientific evaluation of the effect of cannabis on the body. Every wonder why it is almost impossible in the US (or has been until recently) to study cannabis scientifically? A topic for another day. 🙂

    2. Meh. Except in conversations about hemp, the distinction between the drug and the delivery mechanism is pretty irrelevant.

      That is to say… there aren’t many people that, when told they need to cut back on the beer, agrees and starts ordering shots. Most people will understand from the context that you’re actually talking about the drug, and that the particular delivery mechanism doesn’t matter.

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