If federal laws are enforced on recreational marijuana sales, as indicated at a recent White House Press hearing, it could have an ominous impact on marijuana advertising sales in Colorado.
“If it turns out that the Trump administration enforces the existing federal law that makes sale of recreational marijuana a crime, it will end that industry here in Colorado,” said media attorney Steve Zansberg. “That, of course, will eliminate the ad revenues that newspapers derive from that industry.“
Zansberg’s comments come after Sean Spicer, the press secretary for President Donald Trump, suggested stronger federal law enforcement could be coming.
"I think that's a question for the Department of Justice — I do believe that you'll see greater enforcement of it [marijuana]," Spicer said in response to a question regarding the state-federal conflict of marijuana laws during Thursday’s briefing.
It is presently a violation of federal law to advertise marijuana for sale but not a state violation.
The Obama administration had a policy urging U. S. Attorneys not to enforce that law against publishers and advertisers in states like Colorado that had legalized recreational marijuana.
In the press conference, Spicer said that President Trump sees “a big difference” between marijuana for medical purposes and for recreational purposes.
“The president understands the pain and suffering that 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,” he said.
Trump’s appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been a vocal opponent of recreational marijuana use in the past.
However, according to a Bloomberg article, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner spoke with Sessions before his confirmation about Colorado’s marijuana business and was assured there will be no sudden changes in policy.
“That was the take-away from my conversation with Jeff,” Gardner said in the Bloomberg article. “It’s not a priority of the Trump administration.”
Time well tell what approach the Trump administration will take with marijuana, but if as he press secretary indicates, the administration enforces federal law, that could have serious consequences beyond just Colorado's marijuana industry.