With products that rival that of fine wine, high-end health, and wellness brands and gourmet foods that are fit for a gift basket, this controversial plant is already a big business in the US as more states make it mainstream. However, the new Trump administration is leaving those in the recreational marijuana industry to feel extremely nervous.
Last Thursday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer put the industry on tenterhooks by telling reporters that under President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the U.S. Department of Justice will administer “greater enforcement” of the recreational market, also referred to as “adult use” cannabis.
Spicer states, “I think there’s a big difference between medical marijuana, which states have allowed in accordance with the appropriations rider, have set forth a process to administer and regulate that usage, versus recreational marijuana and that’s a very, very different subject.”
The cannabis industry is in flux—federally, it’s legal but each state is in charge of its respective law—but that hasn’t stopped marijuana producers, processors, and dispensary owners from creating successful brands and products for the occasional user. In 2016, the legal market for medical and recreational cannabis combined reached almost $7 billion in the United States, which may have lulled some advocates into a sense of security that the marijuana legalization bell cannot be unrung. Arcview Market Research, which describes cannabis as the “fastest growing industry in the world,” expects revenue to increase to more than $21 billion by the end of Trump’s first term in office. How is Congress is responding to the growing popularity of marijuana? Four members have already formed a bipartisan “Cannabis Caucus” to banish conflicting laws between state and federal governments so that the entire country can capitalize on the growing industry.
Those already invested in the recreational side of the marijuana business, or hoping to enter it, must now wait for news on what will happen next.