As Donald Trump gets closer to the White House, the marijuana industry is uneasy. A recent survey of cannabis executives show that the majority of industry insiders are anxious about what the future holds under the administration of President-elect Trump.
According to a survey conducted by Marijuana Business Daily, 57.4 percent of respondents said they were concerned about their business prospects under Trump. Out of that 57.4 percent, 29.6 percent were "very concerned" and 27.8 percent said they were "somewhat concerned."
On the other end of the spectrum, almost a third were optimistic. About 17 percent of respondents said they are "very optimistic" about the future of the marijuana business under Trump and 16.1 percent were "somewhat optimistic," Marijuana Business Daily reports.
The survey, which was conducted anonymously online, collected responses from 223 marijuana executives and senior managers from Dec. 6 to 7.
The president-elect has not revealed a formal policy regarding the state-legal marijuana markets. During the campaign, Trump said he supports medical marijuana but he thinks recreational should be left up to the states to decide. He has also said that recreational cannabis is "bad" and has been "causing a lot of problems in Colorado."
The greatest concern regarding Trump and marijuana is his nomination of Jeff Sessions, a staunch anti-marijuana senator, for Attorney General. During a Senate meeting on drug control in April 2016, Sessions explained that he is against legalization.
"We need grown ups in Washington to say, 'Marijuana is not the kind of thing to be legalized, it ought not to be minimized, and that it's a real danger,'" said Sessions.
When broken down by sector, marijuana cultivators had the greatest positive outlook with 44.1 percent of cultivators said they were somewhat or very optimistic about their business prospects under Trump. Investors were the second most enthusiastic group in the industry with 35.1 percent optimistic about Trump.
Last week, Trump announced that he picked Scott Pruitt, the current attorney general of Oklahoma, to run the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt, who denies the existence of climate change and has sued the EPA in the past to block clean air and water regulations, is known for his anti-legalization stance: He has sued Colorado for legalizing marijuana. Pruitt and Nebraska Attorney general Jon Bruning's lawsuit argued that each state must prohibit marijuana because Congress has prohibited marijuana. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case.
On the other end, it has been reported that Trump is thinking about selecting Jim O'Neill, an associate of Peter Thiel and manager at Mithril Capital Management, to run the Food and Drug Administration. O'Neill had served in government under George W. Bush at the Department of Health and Human Services as the principal associate deputy secretary. According to Tom Angell, the founder of Marijuana Majority, O'Neill was a founding member of the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform, a California-based legalization advocacy organization.
"If O'Neill is formally appointed and then confirmed by the U.S. Senate as commissioner of food and drugs, it could bode extremely well for future efforts to reform federal marijuana laws," writes Angell on Marijuana.com.