Trump administration: Anti-Marijuana; Pro-Private Prisons

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For most of the Presidential campaign Donald Trump spoke about how much he loves State’s Rights, he loves them bigly.

“In terms of marijuana and legalization, I think that should be a state issue, state-by-state,” Trump said during a campaign stop in 2015.

“We’re losing badly the war on drugs,” Trump said, according to an article in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. “You have to legalize drugs to win that war. You have to take the profit away from these drug czars.”

But then his stance started to change a bit over time, later on in the campaign:

“If they vote for it, they vote for it. But, you know, they have got a lot of problems going on right now in Colorado. Some big problems.”

“And of course you have Colorado. And I love Colorado and the people are great, but there’s a question as to how it’s all working out there, you know? That’s not going exactly trouble-free. So I really think that we should study Colorado, see what’s happening.”

Recreational marijuana is now legal in eight states as well as Washington D.C. while 24 states have varying forms of medical marijuana laws.

In Colorado alone, where Trump is claiming there are problems, recreational Marijuana is now a billion dollar industry, with more than 100,000 people on the medical registry, and over $75 million in taxes for the state. It is expected that legal Marijuana will reach $22 billion in sales nationwide by 2020. Not only that but drug related crime in Colorado has fallen considerably, something the local law enforcement loves.

A report from the Denver Post states: “Marijuana arrests in Colorado fell from 12,894 in 2012, when voters approved legalization, to 7,004 in 2014, the first year of legal recreational sales—a 46 percent decrease. Marijuana charges filed in Colorado courts fell 81 percent between 2012 and 2015, from 10,340 to 1,954.”

The ‘law & order’ and ‘pro-jobs’ President Trump should have zero complaints about the Marijuana industry.

From Forbes.com:

Jobs. That is what the marijuana industry hopes will keep the Trump administration from cracking down on cannabis companies.

A new report from New Frontier Data projects that by 2020 the legal cannabis market will create more than a quarter of a million jobs. This is more than the expected jobs from manufacturing, utilities or even government jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS says that by 2024 manufacturing jobs are expected to decline by 814,000, utilities will lose 47,000 jobs and government jobs will decline by 383,000. This dovetails with data that suggests the fastest-growing industries are all healthcare related.

The legal cannabis market was worth an estimated $7.2 billion in 2016 and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 17%. Medical marijuana sales are projected to grow from $4.7 billion in 2016 to $13.3 billion in 2020. Adult recreational sales are estimated to jump from $2.6 billion in 2016 to $11.2 billion by 2020.

Forbes is not known to be a bastion of liberal thought, rather it is pro-business and free market on steroids while drinking a Mocha Frappachino Latte from one of 7 Starbucks on the same city block all while looking at 32 McDonalds, browsing on your Apple device and driving the biggest, meanest, most badass Chevrolet pickup you can fit into Manhattan. They are saying legal Marijuana equals one thing, and that is major money.

Up until this point the Trump administration has been all over the place on Marijuana. Trump has been against all drugs, for legalizing all drugs, pro-Marijuana, anti-Marijuana and everything in-between. His pick of Jeff ‘you cannot be a good person if you smoke Marijuana’ Sessions was a defining moment and now we are seeing the truth.

We have the official word from the Trump administration as of 02-23-2017, from Sean Spicer’s mouth:

There’s two distinct issues here: medical marijuana and recreational marijuana. I think medical marijuana, I’ve said before, that the president understands the pain and suffering that many people go through, who are facing especially terminal diseases, and the comfort that some of these drugs, including medical marijuana, can bring to them. And that’s one that Congress, through a rider in [2014], put an appropriations bill saying that the Department of Justice wouldn’t be funded to go after those folks.

There’s a big difference between that and recreational marijuana. And I think that when you see something like the opioid addiction crisis blossoming in so many states around this country, the last thing we should be doing is encouraging people. There’s still a federal law that we need to abide by when it comes to recreational marijuana and other drugs of that nature.

In typical Trump/Spicer/Bannon/Sessions fashion, not sure who is saying what or leading the cause here, we have one issue we can all agree on: “Opiod addiction is bad and we must confront the dangers of it.”
We all understand the risks associated with opiods and over-prescribing them, which is what is happening in our country now. Where the disconnect is happening is how recreational Marijuana is related to this at all. It is a poor comparison and completely laughable. By this argument we should be making alcohol illegal as well, we do not want to be encouraging people after all.

Any third grader can see that this is a poor argument. Knowing the Trump administration, there must be something going on here for them to forgo billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of jobs, why would they do that?

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who is leading the campaign against recreational and possibly medical marijuana, also announced that the DOJ will be using Federal private prisons once again. As you may remember, the Obama administration, in a landmark move, stopped the Federal government’s use of private prisons as inhumane. The entire concept of them is immoral, besides the fact that they cost taxpayers more money, offer little rehabilitation and were much worse to inmates.

“The memorandum changed long-standing policy and practice, and impaired the Bureau’s ability to meet the future needs of the federal correctional system,” wrote Sessions. In a move that lines up nicely with the Trump’s militarized deportation force that is going to round up millions, and a change in recreational Marijuana enforcement you have potentially millions of new ‘customers’ for these private prison companies.

In a very Nixon-esque move, they are targeting the people who did not vote Trump. While they cannot go around and lock up people for being Democrats, they can target groups of people who are likely to vote Democrat: Marijuana users and immigrants.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, always fighting, had this to say: “Private prison companies invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and today they got their reward: the Trump administration reversed the Obama administration’s directive to reduce the Justice Department’s use of private prisons. At a time when we already have more people behind bars than any other country, Trump just opened the floodgates for private prisons to make huge profits by building more prisons and keeping even more Americans in jail.”

I didn’t agree with President Obama on everything he did, but generally I was in-favor of his decisions.
At this point in time the people who are still supportive of Trump need to come out against these decisions, or else they will be seen as anti-Immigrant, anti-Marijuana, anti-states’ rights, pro-Private Prisons, etc…

There are a lot of issues we are facing as a country today and a lot of turmoil. The vast majority of Americans do not see our country going in the right direction. Most fear we will be involved in a major war during Trump’s 4 years and many are worried about the economy, civil liberties, and federal government overreach.

Now is the time to make a stand on issues. You do not have to agree with everything ‘your guy’ says, in fact it is healthy to debate and share evidence or arguments on any subject.

Why have a Democracy if we do not use it?

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