On December 21st, 2018, the world may see a US government shutdown take place. This is because Trump is angry at Democrats for refusing to fund a border wall. Marijuana Moment first reported the possibility of this on December 11, 2018.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Trump threatens gov't shutdown in heated meeting with Dem leaders over border wall, squabbling over election results.
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) December 11, 2018
A government shutdown could impact border security. But that’s not all. Unbeknown to many, there will also be drastic consequences for the cannabis industry—including cannabis patients.
Government Shutdown Impacting Cannabis
If Donald Trump refuses to sign appropriation bills, the legal cannabis industry is at risk of actions by the federal drug enforcement. That’s because the spending bill rider that has protected medical cannabis programs from federal drug enforcement agencies for the last four years will expire.
Here’s where it gets interesting, though. If Trump does withhold his signature, the Justice Department, as well as prosecutors, will remain operational—for the most part. It’s just the cannabis industry that’s at risk. And that’s because the DoJ has a contingency plan in the event of a government shutdown. With this plan, anyone working for the DEA is exempt from furlough.
Federal cannabis enforcement has been raised by the Trump administration on a number of occasions, but a government shutdown is the most promising incident. If Donald Trump decides not to sign, the medical cannabis rider will terminate.
If that happens, federal drug enforcement capabilities will remain, leaving medical cannabis businesses as well as its patients in a tough position.
Of course, there is no guarantee the DEA will take advantage of the government shutdown and crack down on legal cannabis. But, as we approach the possibility, the cannabis industry will remain on edge, aware that federal prosecutors being exempt from furlough puts them in an uncomfortable position.
As we are eight days away, it will be important, both for the general public and for the cannabis industry and cannabis investors, to remain vigilant.
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