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The Cannabis Can O’ Worms

If one thing can be said of the Trump administration’s view on cannabis, it’s that it’s become more confusing than ever.

As we indicated at the very end of our recent post on Jeff Sessions, the cannabis industry is really just starting to get itself together when it comes to wielding influence at a national level in the way other industries do.

Indeed – Jeff Sessions’ prior comments on marijuana use may very well have accelerated the creation of one such influencer from within the Capitol itself – the newly minted Congressional Cannabis Caucus is a bipartisan group of 4 congressmen (Republicans Don Young of Alaska and Dana Rohrabacher of Californian and Democrats Jared Polis of Colorado and Earl Blumenauer of Oregon) that was formed to help shepherd federal legislation through the House.

And its arrival may be just in time – whereas the Trump administration telegraphed (through a list circulated by the Office of Management & Budget) that, despite a prescription opioid addiction epidemic, it may eliminate White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy (confounding many traditionally anti-cannabis conservatives), President Trump had previously indicated support for states rights, and a corresponding support for those individual states whose ballot initiatives resulted in newly legalized cannabis, which gave many supporters of legalization some relief.

Today, however, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer swung the pendulum of federal cannabis strategy uncertainty back the other way when answering a question about potential DoJ enforcement of recreational marijuana businesses, saying “I do believe you’ll see greater enforcement of it”.

Granted, a “prediction” isn’t a certainty, but if nothing else it did galvanize another force among the "cannabinfluencers": The National Cannabis Industry Association, whose Executive Director, Aaron Smith, quickly responded to Mr. Spicer, opening with: “It would be a mistake for the Department of Justice to overthrow the will of the voters and state governments who have created carefully regulated adult-use marijuana programs. It would represent a rejection of the values of economic growth, limited government, and respect for federalism that Republicans claim to embrace.”

NCIA’s complete statement can be viewed here.

Disclosure: Delta 9 Search is a member of the NCIA and is actively supporting its lobbying efforts.


Dan Ogden is a 20+ year veteran of the executive search industry, having covered operations, regulatory and consulting verticals within capital markets as well as data science, data analytics and, more recently, the cannabis industry within search firm and internal corporate HR leadership roles. Dan is Principal of the practice at Delta 9, the Western Hemisphere's' only dedicated cannabis industry executive search firm. To find out how Delta 9's proprietary, trademarked end-to-end recruiting methodology can help you find the key executives to make your company thrive and grow in the cannabis industry, shoot us an email, or give us a ring at 212.390.8190.


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