But here’s the thing. Mr. Spicer’s opinion notwithstanding, there is growing consensus on adult use as well. The majority of Americans support full legalization. The number of states that have approved legalized recreational adult use doubled last November to eight, including my home state of California, the nation’s most populous state.
Americans are realizing that prohibition has not stemmed consumption and only served to enrich drug cartels and unfairly imprison millions of people. Whether you are for or against adult use, more and more people are realizing that the better path is to have a well-regulated industry, much like alcohol is today. It is safer for consumers, it is safer for the public, not to mention it creates tax revenue and jobs.
A week before Mr. Spicer spoke, something even more significant for the cannabis industry happened, but it didn’t get as much notice as the White House press briefing. A bipartisan group of congressional leaders announced the formation of the first ever Congressional Cannabis Caucus. The founders, U.S. representatives Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), Don Young (R-Alaska), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.), vowed to sponsor and pass federal laws that protect states’ rights on cannabis issues, including adult use.
Mr. Rohrabacher, a long-time advocate of marijuana causes, earlier introduced the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act, which would amend the Controlled Substances Act to prohibit federal prosecution of marijuana buyers and sellers who comply with state laws.
Elsewhere in Congress, prominent legislators like U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) have called for further reform, including clearer banking regulations and tax laws for the legal cannabis industry.
In the long-term, I see momentum building in favor of full legalization. Congress and the American people are on the right side of this issue, and we fully expect that the rest of the federal government will follow suit.