Spicer’s Comments On Federal Marijuana Enforcement Spark Disappointment, Unnecessary Speculation Within Industry

Eight years of the Obama White House has resulted in a level of comfort for state-legal medical and adult use marijuana businesses that has never been guaranteed under the current Trump administration. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s comments yesterday, resulting in speculation that there could be increased federal enforcement against recreational marijuana sales, should not come as a surprise to industry members who are highly risk tolerant and whose success has come in the face of continuous uncertainty since 2009.
“This is more of an opportunity than a crisis,” said Hoban Law Group Managing Partner Bob Hoban. “Secretary Spicer’s comments, which were obviously unplanned and represent a very small part of a lengthy press briefing on a variety of topics, speak to the lack of education and understanding in the Trump administration about the legal and well regulated marijuana industry. We welcome the opportunity to open the doors of this industry to the federal government so they can see that not only does regulation work, but is an effective tool in combating the growing opioid crisis in this country.”
Public opinion and current momentum certainly support the continued growth of state-legal, highly regulated marijuana markets across the country. The recent formation of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus is evidence of this, and Bob Hoban has been working closely with U.S. Rep. Jared Polis’ office to make sure their efforts are fully supported. Composed of Congressional representatives from Colorado, California, Oregon and Alaska, the Caucus will provide a forum for members of the U.S. House of Representatives to discuss, learn, and work together to establish a better and more rational approach to federal cannabis policy.
Spicer’s brief comments yesterday (less than two minutes during an hour-long press briefing) are nearly the first mention of any potential enforcement against marijuana businesses since the inauguration of President Trump in January. They must not be construed with any certainty, nor are they a basis for panic in a system where any actual direction for enforcement must come from Attorney General Jeff Sessions, not Trump’s press secretary.
Of course we are sensitive to the potential for any changes in federal priorities that could negatively impact our clients. We have already heard from many of you that you are prepared to contribute serious resources for a federal lobbying effort should it come to that. And we want you to know that we are prepared to coordinate and lead that effort in your defense.
As always, we appreciate your support and commitment to this industry. We look forward to our continued relationship in 2017, regardless of the political climate and obstacles to come.
[ Hoban Law Group]
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