Trump Sends Mixed Message on Marijuana, But Pot Industry Pushes Ahead

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A worker at Boulder-based Wana Brands unrolls a silicone mold of marijuana-infused candies. Each jewel contains 5 mg of THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana. Despite the uncertainty in the legal marijuana marketplace, Wana is planning to expand to several new states by licensing its technology and techniques.

America’s marijuana industry isn’t sure where President Trump and his attorney general stand on marijuana, but it is forging ahead with expansion plans anyway.

Cannabis businesses are hiring new workers, leasing new space and pushing across state borders. And regulators are drafting rules that will give access to legal recreational pot to tens of millions of adults.

The stakes are high: This is a job-generating industry that cannabis data firm New Frontier Data estimates may be worth $2.3 billion in taxes within three years.

“Far from the punchline of a joke, these are real people and real lives,” said Colorado Rep. Jared Polis, a Boulder Democrat who recently co-founded the pro-legalization Congressional Cannabis Caucus.

The nation’s marijuana industry expanded rapidly under President Obama, whose administration laid out Justice Department priorities for targeting drug dealers. In short, the Obama administration said, it would leave companies alone in states where voters approved recreational pot if the states took solid steps to keep marijuana away from kids and profits away from drug cartels.

Medical marijuana is reserved for people who’ve gotten a doctor’s recommendation to use it to alleviate specific symptoms, while states with that permit recreational use allow any adult to buy marijuana.

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