Congress voted today to impeach Donald Trump for Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Justice. The Senate Hearing, pending to take place in January 2020, will decide whether or not Trump will complete the remainder of his term as President.
If Senate moves to remove Trump from office, Vice President Mike Pence will succeed him.
What would happen to cannabis if Mike Pence becomes President?
Mike Pence, a social conservative, Republican, and former Governor of Indiana, is anti-cannabis. During a 2012 debate, Pence stated that he’s against any cannabis reformation, referring to cannabis as a “gateway drug.”
Following, Indiana amended its criminal code reform bill to include harsher punishments for cannabis-related offenses. Indiana has some of the most stringent cannabis laws in the United States; possession of any of cannabis is still punishable by a $1,000 fine and 180 days in jail.
When Trump announced Pence as his vice-presidential running-mate in 2016, people were in a flurry, concerned that Pence would impede progress in cannabis reform.
“Mike Pence as his vice presidential running mate is bad news for those of us hoping for cannabis policy reform during the next presidency,” wrote Lisa Rough, Leafly.
Although Donald Trump positioned himself as pro-cannabis, much of his administration is anti-cannabis, like Pence. Overall, the administration has done little to affect cannabis reform nationwide, leaving the issue up to states. Two major changes that occurred under this administration are the FDA approval of Epidiolex, and the passing of the Farm Bill which legalized hemp.
Despite Pence’s draconian stance on cannabis, it’s possible that he would not regress the cannabis movement in the United States, rather leaving legalization up to states.
In short, Pence’s potential year-long succession could create a road bump for cannabis reform. However, cannabis legalization could remain a state-governed issue through 2020 if Donald Trump is removed from office.