White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer sent a shudder through the legalized marijuana world Thursday by signaling that the federal government would step up enforcement in states that have legalized cannabis for recreational use.
But he may have actually done Pennsylvania’s effort a small favor by simultaneously voicing the administration’s intention not to interfere with medical marijuana programs.
“There are two distinct issues here, medical marijuana and recreational marijuana,” Spicer said. “Medical marijuana, I’ve said before, the president understands the pain and suffering many people go through who are facing especially terminal diseases and the comfort that some of these drugs, including medical marijuana can bring to them.”
That could give investors in Pennsylvania’s nascent medical marijuana industry additional confidence by clarifying the Trump administration’s position, said Dan Clearfield, a Harrisburg-based attorney who specializes in medical marijuana law.
“Medical marijuana, because it doesn’t appear to be the focus of anything the new administration wants to do, if people are considering where to put their investment in the marijuana business, that clearly has to be something they are incorporating into their thoughts,” Clearfield said.
Some investors may shift their focus, at least temporarily, from states such as Massachusetts and Maine that recently legalized recreational marijuana to states such as Pennsylvania and Ohio that are rolling out medical programs, said Chris Walsh, editorial director of Marijuana Business Daily.
“You could see some people pivot, either entrepreneurs or investors that were looking at the recreational market, thinking medical might be the better place to go,” Walsh said.
Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Delaware County, a legalization advocate, called the idea of a crackdown “moronic,” impractical and bad for the health and safety of citizens in states with where marijuana is legal for recreational use, but he admitted Spicer’s comments did seem to bode well