Trump v. Biden: Cannabis Legalization – Lexology

With the 2020 presidential election just days away, the future of cannabis legalization will likely rest on the shoulders of whoever is sitting in the Oval Office on January 20, 2021. So where do Donald Trump and Joe Biden stand with respect to the cannabis industry? The Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies team brings you perspectives from both sides of the election spectrum.

Second Trump Administration

White House

With a successful re-election wiping away any concerns about the potential political or electoral advantages of neutrality, President Trump and his political allies in the White House would likely be openly hostile to the cannabis industry and all related ancillary businesses, in terms of both business and public policy.

Department of Justice

The DOJ is likely to continue providing restrictive guidance to administration agencies based on its interpretations of existing law.

  • For example, as part of a recent court case, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel released a previously undisclosed memo which argues that the DEA’s 2016 announcement to expand the number of cannabis productions facilities would be a violation of the US’s obligation to the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. This guidance led the Drug Enforcement Agency to stonewall applications from scientists to cultivate cannabis for research purposes.
  • Additionally, the DOJ may continue to seek to thwart cannabis company mergers and acquisitions. While official Antitrust Division probes would be subject to unwanted scrutiny due to whistleblower
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