We’ve discussed what Donald Trump’s presidency could mean for marijuana legalization’s strong momentum. The biggest roadblock for the movement could be Trump’s U.S. attorney general selection, especially if he nominates one of the oft-rumored choices, marijuana-hatin’ Chris Christie or Rudy Giuliani.
But a new candidate has reportedly emerged.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who once campaigned fiercely against Trump in the Republican primary, is a frontrunner for the AG post, according to Bloomberg. The same Ted Cruz whom Trump dubbed “Lyin’ Ted” during the primary. The same Ted Cruz who outright refused to endorse Trump while on stage at the Republican National Convention and was promptly booed out of the building. The same Cruz who once called Trump “a pathological liar” who “doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies” and “a narcissist at a level I don’t think this country has ever seen.” The same Cruz who eventually came around to endorse Trump and was swiftly relegated to phone duty:
As odd as the potential choice may seem, it could be good news for cannabis legalization. Cruz’s most recent statements on pot (both recreational and medical) align with Trump’s, in that he support a state’s right to choose (via Mother Jones):
“When it comes to a question of legalizing marijuana, I don’t support legalizing marijuana,” he told Hugh Hewitt in April. “If it were on the ballot in the state of Texas, I would vote no. But I also believe that’s a legitimate question for the states to make a determination.
Regarding states that have already legalized, Cruz supports treating them not as outcasts or targets, but as petri dishes:
“I think it is appropriate for the federal government to recognize that the citizens of those states have made that decision, and one of the benefits of it, you know, using Brandeis’ terms of laboratories of democracy, is we can now watch and see what happens in Colorado and Washington State.”
Trump’s attorney general, whoever it is, will create ripple effects that reach far beyond marijuana legalization, but on this issue Cruz appears to be the best hope. Especially when compared to Christie (“Marijuana is against the law in the states and it should be enforced in all 50 states,” he told Fox & Friends last year) or Giuliani, a longtime War on Drugs hawk.