McAllister Garfield on Sean Spicer’s Comments

February 24, 2017


Like you, McAllister Garfield is concerned about Sean Spicer’s comments yesterday about the Trump Administration’s apparently novel views about adult-use cannabis. At first glance, Spicer’s comments are contrary to some of the positions President Trump took in his campaign. Nevertheless, public pronouncements in the Trump Administration often have no connection to actual policy. Actual changes in policy with this administration do not appear to come from announcements, but rather actions, such as executive orders and nominations.

Spicer’s comments should not be read in isolation given the other news coming from Washington in recent weeks, including the possibility that the Office of National Drug Control Policy (headed by what is known as the “drug czar”) might be eliminated, the creation of a Cannabis Caucus in the House of Representatives, and rumblings that Section 280E reform might be on the agenda in this Congress. It might also be telling that the Department of Justice, when asked about Spicer’s remarks, had no comment. More telling, perhaps, is a comment by Colorado Republican Senator Cory Gardner, who told Bloomberg News that he spoke with Sessions prior to his nomination hearings there would be no sudden changes in cannabis policy: “That was the takeaway from my conversation with Jeff,” Gardner said. “It’s not a priority of the Trump administration.”

Accordingly, while we applaud the comments of lawmakers (such as Rep. Jared Polis, D-CO and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)) criticizing Spicer, we believe it is critical to pay attention to those who actually make and enforce federal cannabis policy (e.g., President Trump, Jeff Sessions, other DOJ and DEA officials). As we were after Sessions was nominated for attorney general, we remain cautiously optimistic that the Trump Administration will understand the value of not just regulated medical cannabis, but regulated adult-use cannabis.

We have included links below to press releases from the Marijuana Policy Project (to which this firm is a long-time donor) and the National Cannabis Industry Association (of which the firm is a long-standing member). We encourage you to provide any resource you can to these organizations and any other drug reform organization that seeks to keep in place the hard-fought reforms that, even after many years and many successful elections, remain subject to the whims of government officials.

We also encourage you to contact state and local officials so that they speak out against any enforcement actions against the cannabis industry and to confirm that they will defend their states’ rights to legalize and regulate cannabis. Whether or not the Trump Administration has indeed taken a new position on cannabis, McAllister Garfield remains committed to representing and defending the industry.


Sean McAllister and Dan Garfield

MPP Press Release

NCIA Press Release