On April 13, it was announced that President Trump pledged to U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado that he and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions would back off from prosecuting legally regulated state cannabis programs. That same day, Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson made a statement regarding the announcement.
“I understand President Trump has offered his support for states to have the right to regulate marijuana and for legislation to enshrine this right in law. I am cautiously optimistic that the president appears to have heard the will of the people on this issue,” Ferguson stated. “But this president has demonstrated a willingness to go back on his word. Until there is a formal agreement protecting Washington’s well-regulated marijuana industry, I will continue to stand ready to defend it.”
In the South Sound, cannabis has made a significant impact on the economy. According to 502data.com, in Pierce County, there are 44 legal cannabis retailers, and 63 legal cannabis producers and processors. Legal cannabis sales in Pierce County totaled $140 million in 2017, with $40 million in excise tax collected. In Thurston County, there are 25 legal cannabis retailers, and 85 legal cannabis producers and processors. Legal cannabis sales in 2017 totaled $118 million, with $16 million in excise tax collected.
South Sound Business reached out to the owner of legal cannabis retailer Bud Commander in Tumwater, David Moore, for his thoughts on Trump’s latest announcement to let cannabis businesses continue operating at the state level.
“Once they see the financial end of things, it’ll all be okay,” Moore said. “We know it’s tough to be the minority. But they’re the minority now. So be it.”
With nine legal cannabis states, and 29 legal medical marijuana states in the U.S., attitudes favoring cannabis prohibition do seem to be in the minority.