Mar 6, 2017

Big Cannabis grows up, despite Trump admin's disapproval

Rich Pedroncelli / AP

During less interesting times, the potential constitutional showdown between states that have legalized recreational cannabis and the federal law enforcement would be a top priority for the Trump administration, whose Attorney General and White House Press Secretary have staked out tough positions against federal leniency.

  • Big Cannabis: Legal weed sales have grown sharply of late, and a recent report from analysts Cowen & Co. predicted that the $6 billion industry will grow to $50 billion in sales over the next decade, or 31% more than U.S. tobacco revenues last year.
  • Winning over skeptics: Colorado's Democratic Governor and Republican Attorney General opposed legalization, but now say that implementation has gone better than expected. Nevada Republican Governor Brian Sandoval likewise opposed legal weed in his state, but is moving forward after a November vote.
  • Pro-pot electorate: Higher industry revenues and more investment of time and money by state regulators is growing the constituency for resisting a federal crackdown on the industry. But so far the legalization movement has been able to overcome being outspent by anti-pot forces in recent elections because public support for leaving regulation of marijuana to the states is broad. A recent Quinnipiac poll showed 71 % of Americans are opposed to enforcing federal bans on pot in states that have legalized.
Go deeper