The Pot Industry Gets Spicy(er)

March 01, 2017 | WES ABNEY

Will the white house actually follow through on press secretary Sean Spicer's threats and begin enforcing federal recreational cannabis laws during Donald Trump's presidency?


Last month the sky was officially falling on the pot industry as White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer mentioned that he expected to see federal enforcement on recreational Cannabis.

Facebook went crazy as seemingly every person in the industry raised their voice in anger and fear, and to be fair, the mainstream media had a heyday with it as well. Headlines loomed large: “Trump administration signals possible crackdown on Marijauana…” and “Get high while you can, the Trump Administration is going after legal marijuana.”

spicer-quote1.jpgMy response? Chicken Little was never right. And the truth is that posturing by the White House is simply that. Posturing. It’s not really different than a defiant child lashing out, which is essentially what our President is. A defiant man-child flip-flopping on every message he sends. But more on that later.

What surprised me the most about the industry reaction was the surprised dismay of owners, smokers and growers alike.

I have one question for all of you. When was pot ever safe and legal?

Over the last decade the “legal” pot industry has had many shades of gray involving regulation and recognitition, with one exception. 

It has always been federally illegal! 

Not a single part of this industry has been legal, and Obama’s Administration proved that with the Cole memo and more raids on MMJ than under Bush. So for all the would-be activists and scared business owners I have the same message — what did you think you were getting into?

Cannabis businesses exist in a world unlike any other and the people who years ago chose to take on the risk vs. reward equation of engaging in federally illegal sales used to be in a breed of their own. It takes courage to stand up for an issue that can land you in federal prison, and even more to try and profit from it. 

But slowly through regulation and “legalization” the old-school of growers and dispensary owners have slowly been phased out as the green rush has hit the true greenhorns of the pot industry. Investors and outside owners.

The funniest thing to me as an old school pot activist and long time smoker and seller of Cannabis is when investors get green eyes talking about profits and potential, and then get scared when even a hint of enforcement comes down. You can’t have your cake and eat it too!

Washington state is currently poking the Trump Administration on several levels, from immigration to Cannabis. And to that, I say kudos! It is time that we as a people and as individual states stand up for our rights. 

Before the shock of the statements from Spicer had even settled, our Attorney General Bob Fergusen and Governor Jay Inslee had the courage to release statements defending the pot industry, and standing behind the industry.

Washington has one of the worst legalization schemes in the country, and that is exactly why it is safe. It is essentially a state controlled cartel with a 47 percent tax on every dollar and state agencies complicit in every step from seed to sale. It is a cash cow as well, making the outrageous tax an even bigger incentive for defending the right to sell pot. And every other legal state is in a similar position of budget shortfalls and new revenue.

And so, it seems, everything comes down to money. Is the Trump Administration going to spend money coming after legal pot in states where it is taxed, regulated and contributing to budgets that are consistently short? No. Are they going to posture and rattle the sabers in order to maintain some form of delusional strength? Yes.

If there is one quote, out of many, from Donald Trump that shows the truth, it comes down to his promise to “drain the swamp.” If there is anything that we can count on as a country and an industry, it’s that Trump is nothing except a flip-flopping manipulator. And taking a manipulator at their word is as simple as being manipulated. It’s time for the “new” and “legal” pot industry to stand up. Because the rest of the industry is back in black, and already living with the reality of pot being “legal.”

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