The Trump Story Nobody is Talking About
He's going back on his word, and it may cost him the election...
I’ll be the first to admit when I’m wrong. (Sometimes the second, if you ask my wife...)
But, I must say that I’ve been very wrong about Donald Trump and cannabis.
When he ran for the presidency, I thought it would be a boon for marijuana stocks. I naively assumed that the Donald only cared about the green: money. I thought that he was politically agnostic when it came to making billions of dollars.
It was like setting up a new Trump casino in every state in the nation. The cash basically prints itself! What's not to love? It's tremendous!
Why in the world wouldn’t you embrace something that could create billions of dollars, employ hundreds of thousands of Americans, decrease the prison population and inject countless millions into the tax pool – for states and the government alike?
It’s a no-brainer, and if he’s smart he’ll do a 180 before Joe Biden beats him to it.
Trump is on record defending state-controlled legalization of cannabis. Here’s a quick “greatest hits” of Trump on weed:
"We're losing badly the war on drugs. You have to legalize drugs to win that war. You have to take the profit away from these drug czars."
"Marijuana is such a big thing. Don't we agree? I think so."
"I really believe we should leave it up to the states."
Even as recently as August of last year, Trump responded to a reporter about whether marijuana would be legalized during his presidency. Here’s what he said: "We're going to see what's going on. It's a very big subject and right now we are allowing states to make that decision. A lot of states are making that decision, but we're allowing states to make that decision."
Sounds pretty clear, right?
I dug further...
I met with a Republican Representative that was on the short-list for Trump’s Secretary of State – Dana Rohrabacher – who told me “Donald Trump wants to legalize marijuana. I know because he told me personally several times.”
I’ve spoken in great detail with my friend Gary Johnson – Republican Governor of New Mexico and Libertarian Presidential Candidate – who was one of the first adopters of cannabis legalization. He’s told me that Trump would be a downright fool not to address the subject. It was the one issue that tipped the scales for a Republican Governor in a "Purple State".
Now, when you talk to upper-level government officials, I suppose you should take it with a grain of salt. But I was totally convinced that Trump would do what he said: leave the issue up to the states.
Then, the rain came…
Trump named Jeff Sessions as his Attorney General. Sessions is perhaps the single-most anti-cannabis legislator in the entire country. He once quipped that he thought the Ku Klux Klan “were OK until I found out they smoked pot.”
He also said, on the record, that “good people don’t smoke marijuana”.
Trump named yet another anti-cannabis Attorney General in William Barr.
While Jeff Sessions was rather neutered during his tenure, Barr has been a busy little bee. He has been actively crushing cannabis legislation left and right. In fact it was just laid out that he personally weighed in on 10 proposed cannabis mergers and ordered investigations that were “not even close to meeting established criteria”, according to a career Justice Department prosecutor.
That prosecuter, John Elias, told the U.S. House Judiciary Committee hearing that cannabis was unpopular “on the fifth floor,” the location of Barr’s office.
So we have two prominent government justice officials that had a singular hatred of cannabis. In a sense, I got it all wrong when I thought that Trump would put money over politics. In a political environment where there are few issues that our elected officials can agree on, the current administration has doubled down on one that will come back to bite them.
As Chris Roberts from the Observer pointed out, even famed drug-addled journalist Hunter S. Thompson said he had common ground with Richard Nixon: “We both wear belts. We both spend American money.”
I think that sums things up pretty well…
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I like to leave politics aside when I write about markets. But sometimes it is not only impossible, but downright stupid. Whoever takes over the White House next year will make a huge difference in the economy – and most certainly the cannabis industry.
It’s no secret that Trump is on the ropes. He is down in the polls and it looks like he’ll be a one-term president if things keep going the way they are.
If my crystal ball is right, we’ll see a Joe Biden/ Kamala Harris ticket come November. That means will have a liberal, black VP with a criminal justice background. Considering the swell of support for criminal justice reform, as we’ve seen played out in cities around the country, there will be an equal pitch for cannabis legalization.
Harris has even sponsored a House bill that is as much about civil rights as it is about decriminalizing marijuana. Petty marijuana charges have landed hundreds of thousands of black Americans in prison.
If the Democrats take down Trump, these legalization measures will quickly fall into place. And heck, even if Trump wins again, there has never been a better time to allow states to create more jobs and tax revenue than right now.
Now, I've discussed before just how much cannabis people are buying during the lockdown. People are loading up on cannabis like they are with toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and canned goods. Recreational sales are up triple digits in some areas of the country.
But there is another byproduct of the recent crisis that many people aren't really talking about. Once the virus has subsided, states will be left with millions of unemployed Americans, thousands of shuttered businesses, and massive amounts of debt.
Here’s what cannabis could bring to each and every state:
Billions of dollars in tax revenue (for years to come)
1 million+ high-paying, disaster-proof jobs
An entirely new production chain that helps everyone — from depressed rural areas to urban city centers
What better time to slide in cannabis legalization to help ease the massive burden? With the stroke of a pen, states can legalize cannabis and create a brand-new stream of tax revenue — instantly.
I'm also betting that we'll keep it right here in the U.S. of A. While Canada led the first cannabis boom, we'll be leading the second one. And to quote President Trump: it will be yuuuuggggge.
Godspeed, Jimmy is a managing editor for Outsider Club and the investment director of the personal finance advisory, The Crow's Nest, and cannabis stocks advisory, The Marijuana Manifesto. For more on Jimmy, check out his editor's page.
Jimmy is a managing editor for Outsider Club and the investment director of the personal finance advisory, The Crow's Nest, and cannabis stocks advisory, The Marijuana Manifesto. For more on Jimmy, check out his editor's page.
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