It’s safe to say that the legal marijuana industry has faced many and seemingly endless obstacles. With a new administration, legal marijuana merchants have been holding their breath to see whether the Trump administration plans to snuff out the industry. So far, no news seems to be good news.
Following a visit to Las Vegas in March, Brookings Institution’s John Hudak, an expert on marijuana policy, said it was too early to tell what the Trump administration’s next move would be. After a second visit the end of October, Hudak shared that not much has changed in terms of policy coming out of D.C. Even though much is being discussed about marijuana policy, no further actions have been taken to crack down on the industry.
In early September, President Trump agreed to continue the ban on using funds to interfere in states’ legal cannabis practices in his temporary budget-dealing with Democrats. Although, many are waiting to see what the government stance will be in the coming year. This budget agreement involved approving hurricane relief, federal spending and raising the debt ceiling through the end of the year. It also included a Rohrabacher-Blumenauer clause (a.k.a Rohrabacher-Farr), which serves to protect state medical marijuana programs from federal intrusion until Dec. 8, 2017.
According to Forbes, “The clause stipulates that the U.S. Department of Justice may not use any of its funds to prevent states, the District of Columbia, or Puerto Rico from ‘implementing a law that authorizes the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.’”
So what forces are giving pause? After all, the attorney general’s most recent comments included increasing enforcement and having the federal government play its more traditional role. However, no action has been taken. The first possible reason why could be new considerations.
In his interview with The Las Vegas Sun, Hudak explained that “when you’re moving from the Senate into running a very large Cabinet department you have new considerations. You have to think about things in new and different ways, and you have a new constituency. So there’s a learning curve.”
The second consideration seems to be resources. With each day that passes, it becomes harder and harder for the Justice Department to shut down recreational marijuana. There are now many legal medical and recreational marijuana companies throughout the U.S., with more joining soon in California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada. The industry has simply become too big to close down entirely.
The bottom line? As more time passes and marijuana businesses are left untouched, those in the industry are becoming more and more hopeful. Only time will tell what the outcome will be for the Trump and marijuana situation. Even so, the cannabis industry continues to be difficult for businesses to navigate. One of the largest obstacles continues to be the lack of payment processing services. Still unwilling or unable to take on the risks, traditional lenders stay away. For marijuana merchants seeking a way to safely process credit and debit card transactions, the best place to secure services continues to be through an alternative provider like Marijuana Merchant Account.