In this essay, retired Judge Mary Celeste (bio below) responds to the Trump administration’s comments on marijuana and opioids:
This past week saw two indications that the Trump administration is uneducated and clueless about drugs in this country. Its first irresponsible action is the potential halting of federal drug-control efforts. According to the New York Times, the White House is potentially eliminating the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy, which coordinates federal efforts to reduce drug use and drug trafficking. “The ONDCP’s website was ‘wiped clean’ when President Trump took office and it has not been replaced,” the paper reported.
Dear Stoner: Can I have a party in my business’s parking lot where people can smoke pot if the area is private?
Dear Hopeful: Yes, but there are some very important guidelines you must follow in order to keep a legal party from turning into an illegal drug ring:
Ever since Donald Trump nominated Senator Jeff Sessions to serve as attorney general, industry advocates have worried that Sessions might use his new position to crack down on marijuana.
At his confirmation hearing last month, Sessions was evasive when asked what he would do as attorney general now that 60 percent of Americans live in a state where marijuana is legal — 28 states in all. He said he would fall in line with the administration’s stance on marijuana; because Trump had made supportive comments about medical marijuana on the campaign trial and did not come out against recreational marijuana, the industry took that to mean that the administration would not pursue legal action against the industry.
After White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that we should expect “greater enforcement” of marijuana laws, particularly regarding recreational sales, Colorado politicians responded.
Governor John Hickenlooper appeared on MSNBC on February 24 and then on Meet the Press on February 26 when he was in Washington, D.C., for a governors’ conference. During both appearances, he noted that he did not approve of marijuana legalization when it passed in Colorado, adding that he continues to be wary despite the fact that legal marijuana raked in over $1.3 billion in sales last year in this state alone.
Florida’s United for Care campaign spent two full election cycles — 2014 and 2016 — drafting, fighting, and pushing Floridians to legalize medicinal cannabis for demonstrably sick people. Last year, 72 percent of Floridians voted to amend the state constitution to legalize medical weed for people with diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s. Now it’s up to the Florida Legislature to adopt medical marijuana rules.
Yesterday, Fort Myers Rep. Ray Rodrigues finally unveiled the first medical weed regulations — and they would ban people from smoking marijuana or using edibles. Patients would also be prohibited from vaporizing weed if they aren’t terminally ill.
This week the Trump administration dropped a bomb on the cannabis industry when press secretary Sean Spicer said the marijuana industry should expect “greater enforcement” from the federal government.
This stance is in direct opposition to statements Trump had made on the campaign trail regarding marijuana, and other signs from the administration since his election. Here’s a roundup of what Trump has said on the issue, coverage of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s comments since his appointment, and follows on Spicer’s comments this week.
As Colorado’s cannabis industry continues to grow and mature, dispensary owners and other ganjapreneurs are taking a more analytical approach to retail marijuana. According to industry experts, dispensaries cannot hope that the novelty of cannabis and tourism continues to support the market. Rather, they need to dive deeper into customer engagement.
“As more states decriminalize marijuana, we see tourism is slowing down, which means the value of customer retention is higher than ever. Like all retail, it costs six times more to find a new customer than serve a returning customer,” says Joel Milton, CEO of Baker, a cannabis data-tracking service.
The latest in cannabis data-tracking tools gives dispensaries, marketers and anyone involved in the marijuana industry a new perspective on products purchased across the state. Dispensaries that aim to thrive must turn their focus to engaging with their current customer base by looking at what customers buy regularly and then being strategic when stocking their stores.
Within minutes of press secretary Sean Spicer’s comment on February 23 that we can expect “greater enforcement” of marijuana laws by the Trump administration, outcries resounded throughout the marijuana industry.
“Over 60 percent of Americans support cannabis legalization. It is one of the few bipartisan issues that actually has the potential to unite us right now. Our country and many of our citizens are still recovering from the devastation of a failed Drug War. It would be a crime to waste any more resources prohibiting adult access to this safe, effective medicine,” says Christie Strong, marketing communications manager for Kiva Confections.
Others warn the administration of a potential legal battle and take some hope in the fact that Spicer has previously made inaccurate statements from the press-secretary podium. “Sean Spicer’s comments on recreational marijuana seem to be a disturbing departure from Trump’s purported position on states’ rights. We will have to see how this plays out. I suspect this issue will end up being litigated at the Supreme Court. Let’s not forget, however, this is the same guy who falsely reported on the attendance at the inauguration,” says Steve Gormley, CEO of Seventh Point LLC.
Danny Davis, managing partner at Convectium, hopes that Spicer’s sentiments are not shared throughout the administration. “We are hopeful that Mr. Spicer’s comments are not representative of the entire administration,” he says. “Many of the states that helped elect President Trump just voted to also support recreational marijuana. It is hard to imagine that he would push an agenda with the support ratings where they are. As an equipment company, we represent both the recreational and medicinal markets, but we would hate to see an action that would stop the current multi-state momentum for recreational.”
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer just gave one of the most direct comments we’ve gotten from the Trump administration regarding marijuana policy. In response to a reporter’s question at a February 23 press briefing, Spicer said he believes we will see “greater enforcement” of federal marijuana laws.
When people first consider cannabis as a pain remedy, they often don’t know where to start — and they have lots of questions. Fortunately, Lynn Honderd, CEO of Mary’s Medicinals, who co-founded the company in 2013, has lots of answers. We recently sat down with Honderd to talk about Mary’s Medicinals and why cannabis is helpful for so many medical patients.
Westword: For medical patients and caregivers looking for pain relief, what do you think are the most important issues to consider?