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What Will A Trump Administration Do About Marijuana Legalization and OSHA?

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What Will A Trump Administration Do About Marijuana Legalization and OSHA?

Written by Lucas Kibby, CleanFleet

trump affect on marijuana laws and osha

Marijuana Legalization

Trump has made supportive statements for marijuana legalization in the past – that he is behind medical marijuana 100 percent and that recreational marijuana should be left up to the states. But the potential inclusion of politicians who are traditionally conservative on drug policy in his future administration causes some concern, and there are simply no laws that could stop President Trump from bringing the whole scene to a screeching halt using federal enforcement.

There are two federal mandates that a Trump administration could affect

The Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment is a piece of congressional legislation that prohibits the Department of Justice from spending federal dollars to enforce federal prohibition in states that have moved to decriminalize or legalize medical marijuana.

The Cole Memo was written under former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and states that the federal government will not interfere with states that legalize recreational and medical marijuana so long as they follow a series of guidelines set forth within the document.

President-elect Trump nominates Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General

President-elect Donald Trump’s nomination for Attorney General, Senator Jeff Sessions, has openly criticized the policies of FBI Director James Comey and Attorneys General Eric Holder for not enforcing the federal prohibition on marijuana.

Senator Sessions’ long-standing views on marijuana go back to the 1980’s. News sources show that In April, 2016, he said that “good people don’t smoke marijuana” and that it should not be legalized. He has also called marijuana reform “a tragic mistake.” He further said that “it is already causing a disturbance in the states that have made it legal.”

Although he has yet to say what his plans are, he could send a letter to governors in states that have legalized marijuana advising them that they are in violation of the CSA.

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Should the Marijuana Industry be worried?

Marijuana reform experts do not seem to think that Trump will want to spend his first days in the Oval Office messing with the marijuana industry.

Tom Angell, chairman of the Marijuana Majority, told HIGH TIMES in a statement, “President-Elect Trump has clearly and repeatedly pledged to respect state marijuana laws, and we fully expect him to follow through on those promises, not only because it is the right thing to do but also because these reforms are broadly supported by a growing majority of voters.”

The political director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), Danielle Keane said, “Our landslide success really affirms that public opinion to legalize marijuana is not the minority opinion, and it is clear that it is here to stay.”


A number of OSHA rulemakings finalized within the past few years as well as a few enforcement guidance documents have resulted in significant new compliance costs across a number of industry sectors. Trump may walk back a number of these OSHA rules, regulations, and guidance.

First, there is the Fed-OSHA’s increased penalties. As of August 2, 2016, Fed-OSHA increased its maximum penalty amounts by over 80%. Trump may repeal this increase because of the potential financial burden it may place on employers and due to the lack of uniformity created by many state OSHA plans’ inability to increase their penalties in a commensurate amount.

According to a news source, if Trump decides to not repeal the penalty increase rule entirety, look for him to remove the rule’s requirement that Fed-OSHA’s maximum penalties increase each year to account for inflation.

Secondly, we may see a return to the way OSHA operated under previous Republican administrations. This may mean less focus on regulatory development/enforcement, and a greater focus on compliance assistance and public/private partnerships.

Since 2008, Trump’s companies have been inspected by Fed-OSHA and state OSHA plans approximately 13 times, with around six of those inspections resulting in penalties. Trump likely understands that Fed-OSHA enforces the OSH Act in some states, while state OSHA plans enforce the Act in the balance of states.

Trump may eliminate any Fed-OSHA jurisdiction in current state plans, or encouraging more states to develop state OSHA plans in order to decrease the size of the federal agency and shift more responsibilities to the states.

12 Dec, 16

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