Everyone is waiting with baited breath to see what effect the Trump Administration will have on legalized marijuana. With a temperament known for it’s hairpin trigger and a reputation for brutal capitalism at any cost, I don’t blame people for being nervous. After all, Trump did appoint a man to Attorney General who blatantly said “Good people don’t smoke marijuana,” essentially alienating over 30 million Americans. On the other hand, Trump is heavily considering a well-known marijuana advocate, Jim O’Neill, to head up the FDA. So, why the apparent contradiction from a man who has gone on record as stating he fully supports medical marijuana? Personally, as with all things Trump, I think it boils down to the cash and here’s why.

What Does The FDA Have To Do With It?

The FDA’s recommendation regarding the use of any drug as medication carries significant weight in the DEA’s decision to label a drug as a Schedule 1 drug, more to one direction than the other, but significant either way.

If the FDA determines that a drug has no medicinal value, the DEA is forced to keep that drug in the Schedule 1 category

If, however, the FDA determines there is a legitimate medicinal use for a drug, the DEA may, at their discretion, reschedule that drug. Rusty Payne, a spokesperson for the DEA, had this to say about the two agencies history, “”If they recommend a Schedule II-V, we then have the discretion whether or not to reschedule…Aside from a long debate whether to reschedule hydrocodone, we’ve never gone against the FDA recommendation.”

That being said, if the FDA, under the direction of a newly appointed, marijuana advocating leader decides to recommend marijuana be moved to schedules II-V, the DEA could decide to remove it from it’s current label as a Schedule I drug. This could have significant ramifications, especially on the recreational marijuana industry. After all, you don’t see people buying morphine or codeine without a prescription. Such a reclassification could make medical marijuana legal, but leave recreational use in the dark and states that have legalized it in a potentially lethal legal situation.

What Does the Attorney General Have To Do With Legalized Cannabis?

The Attorney General is responsible for overseeing the DEA and enforcement of federal lJeff Sessions, Jeff sessions against legal cannabis, legalized cannabisaw. Newly appointed, Jeff Sessions, is an outspoken opponent of marijuana and while it is unlikely that he will direct DEA resources toward going after state-legalized marijuana, it is in his purview to do so. However, if marijuana is rescheduled as a schedule II-V drug, that purview decreases to pursuing recreational use only. Essentially, with the right pieces in play, Trump’s administration could effectively limit marijuana to medical use and choose to enforce that on a federal level despite state laws. Some people would argue that this wouldn’t be a bad thing but, there’s a significant point those people are missing……it’s all about the money.

Follow The Money

Marijuana is a naturally-occurring, inexpensive medicine that anyone can grow in their backyard. That is not a market Big Pharma can monopolize. They’ve been trying for years but their best attempts to turn marijuana into a chemical pill that can be controlled and mass produced pale in comparison to the real thing. So, if you can’t beat it, join it, right? Or in this case, conquer, rape, and pillage it.

The minute marijuana becomes subjected to a prescription on a federal level, Big Pharma wins and corporations like Monsanto and Bayer will quickly own the industry

Organic and natural will not top their list of priorities either. Money and and mass production will.

By obliterating legal recreational use, the federal government will all but hand Big Pharma the reigns on a silver platter. The cannabis industry will become a pay to play battleground that small cannabis legalization, legalizedgrowers and dispensaries will not be able to afford a ticket to watch let alone participate in. As with everything the Trump Administration does, there is a slight of hand going on here. “Hurry up! Look at this and react so you won’t see what I’m doing behind the scenes.” A move to legalize medical marijuana will leave so many people either celebrating or fuming, that no one will pay any attention to the corporate takeover happening in the background.

Full Legalization Is The Only Option

So, where does that leave us? Should we be forced to settle for what we can get while Big Pharma bends us over? I don’t think so.

Now is the time for action. Write, call, and flood your representatives and senators

The bipartisan Congressional Cannabis Caucus is now in full swing and may be the only chance we have to bypass this hostile corporate hijacking of the marijuana industry. The Caucus is a group of congress members from both sides of the aisle banding together to “to develop policy reforms that can bridge the gap that currently exists between federal laws banning marijuana and the laws in an ever-growing number of states that have legalized it for medical or recreational purposes.”

If we are going to follow the money, let’s follow it for the good of everyone, not the 1%. Let’s pursue federal legalization for both recreational and medicinal use and taxation that funds our schools and infrastructure instead of another Big Pharma CEO’s second home in Maui. According to Rep. Rohrabacher, Hawaii beach house, legalized cannabis a Republican representative from California and founding member of the Caucus, “We’re stepping forward together to say we’ve got to make major changes in our country’s attitude toward cannabis,and if we do, many people are going to live better lives, it’s going to be better for our country, better for people, and it makes economic sense at a time when every penny must count for government.” This is the type of leadership we have to demand from our legislators.

Let’s #resist and keep our eyes open. We’ve come too far to let an Oompa Loompa with a temper and his money hungry, corporate friends ruin it.

Amber Faust

About the author: Amber Faust is a freelance writer and editor who specializes in natural lifestyle pieces and sociopolitical commentary. Amber is a lifelong activist for social justice and environmental issues. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, painting, drumming, meditation, and yoga.