Trump signals support for legislation easing US ban on marijuana
LOS ANGELES —
President Donald Trump said Friday that he’s inclined to support a bipartisan effort in Congress to ease the U.S. ban on marijuana, a proposal that would dramatically reshape the nation’s legal landscape for pot users and businesses.
The federal ban that puts marijuana on the same level as LSD and heroin has created a conflict with more than two dozen states that have legalized pot in some form. In Massachusetts, for example, recreational marijuana sales are expected to start next month.
The legislation would ensure states have the right to determine the best approach to marijuana within their borders, but some U.S. restrictions would remain, including recreational sales to people under 21.
The proposal introduced Thursday has support from members of Congress from both parties, including Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado and Democratic U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
“I support Senator Gardner. I know exactly what he’s doing,” Trump told reporters in Washington, when asked about the legislation. “We’re looking at it. But I probably will end up supporting that, yes.”
In a statement released Thursday, Gardner said the proposal would ensure Washington respects the will of voters in each state, whether laws provide for legalization or prohibition.
He said the federal government “is closing its eyes and plugging its ears” to spreading legalization, but Washington should not interfere with any state’s legal marijuana market.
Another co-sponsor, Democratic U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, said in a statement that Washington “needs to get out of the business of outlawing marijuana.”
California, home to one in eight Americans, launched the nation’s largest legal marijuana marketplace on Jan. 1. Still, businesses that have been licensed across the state are facing the threat of federal prosecution.