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The Attorney General’s latest problem is President Trump‘s greatest opportunity yet. Here’s why.
While I understand that Mr. Sessions was following his conscience when he recently announced a controversial policy change which cleared the way for federal prosecutors to once again go after cannabis cases despite conflicting state laws, the reality is that full outright legalization is inevitable. So, Sessions is risking the future of the Trump administration as well as his party’s majorities in both houses – all in order to fight a losing battle. And with every seat in the House and one-third of the Senate up for grabs in the upcoming November 2018 midterm elections, many Democrats have been quick to capitalize on Sessions’ strategy and the corresponding statements from Republican federal prosecutors which followed his pronouncement.
Meanwhile, with the clear majority of voters in favor of lifting the federal ban on cannabis, even with some amongst that majority disapproving of its use and with some wishing for it to remain illegal in their local communities, there have been renewed calls for Congress to take up the matter. However, rather than wait for Congress to perhaps introduce legislation – a process which if left to legislators would probably be doomed from the get-go by lobbyists, earmarks, amendments, etc. – the president could make a strategic decision to diffuse the situation by immediately introducing a simple bill, with only the plainest possible language, which, if passed, would declare cannabis to no longer be a federally controlled substance.
Now, of course, some congressmen would try to add pork to Trump’s bill. Historically, the presidency has been known as “the bully pulpit.” So, Trump could use the opportunity to prove himself the champion of the people by using his 46+ million follower strong Twitter account to berate, ridicule, and condemn any lawmaker who attempts to use the proposed legislation to do anything other than get the public the simple up and down vote – and accountability – that it deserves.
Democrats, many of whom have been going after Sessions over this issue, would be stuck between a rock and a hard place. With the tables turned, they’d publicly have to either vote against, filibuster or otherwise sabotage something that their constituents have been demanding for quite some time or help seal Trump’s place as a legend to many swing voters as the president who finally upheld states’ rights and lifted the federal ban on cannabis. This could also help the GOP reestablish itself as the party of individual liberty to large numbers of younger voters whom it could use under its tent and whom it might not otherwise be able to reach.
If the bill were to receive wide popular support, as it seems that it likely would, but yet get blocked for a clear vote from Democrats for partisan political reasons, Trump could issue an executive order overriding Sessions, whom he is unlikely to fire in the current political climate. For the rest of the year, the GOP could then campaign on the issue of getting the people a declarative Congressional vote in hopes of reintroducing the bill after the electorate has had its chance to send a clear mandate. In the meantime, the president could use the spectacular showmanship we’ve now come to expect from him to fire any federal prosecutor who fails to fall in line.
If the bill were to pass, millions would view it as the grandest gesture yet towards truly draining the federal swamp. Billions of federal dollars which are currently spent on cannabis enforcement could be redirected where needed elsewhere.
States which choose to continue banning weed would be free to do so, but the money to uphold such local laws would have to come from their own coffers. On the flip side, states that choose to have legal markets would continue to derive revenue.
With legitimate banking no longer problematic for cannabis enterprises and both the transit of the product between states where it is permitted as well as even the export to other countries newly open for business, the positive economic impact and the number of new jobs created would be significant – and totally attributable to the Trump administration.
Pursuing this plan is certainly Trump’s best bet for maintaining the Republican majorities and winning himself a second term. As other memories fade with time before the 2020 election, millions of voters would still fondly remember the president who used the “bully pulpit” to finally drain the swamp and make Congress do its job regarding one of the most motivating political issues of our time.
Since the WhiteHouse.gov petition platform is down for maintenance for a while, we have started collecting signatures over at ipetition asking the president to get us a simple up or down vote on this issue in Congress. You can sign here.
The author, Marty Gottesfeld, is a political prisoner of the Obama administration. You can learn more and donate to help him at FreeMartyG.com.