Cannabis could be one of the top five issues in the 2020 presidential election, Piper Jaffray.
President Donald Trump may champion legalization as a way of gaining favor with younger voters, the sell-side firm said in a Sunday note.
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In the meantime, Piper Jaffray expects small steps toward federal legalization from the administration, and believes full U.S. legalization is likely in two to five years, analyst Michael Lavery said in a note.
Lavery based his report on remarks made recently by lobbyist Michael Esposito at a Piper Jaffray conference on cannabis policy.
“By supporting cannabis, Trump may be able to incrementally broaden his appeal with swing voters without alienating his base,” Lavery said.
One factor that could influence Trump’s decision on whether to support or oppose cannabis legalization is which candidate Democrats choose to run against him, the analyst said.
For example, if Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has sponsored legislation to protect states’ rights to legalize cannabis, is Trump’s opponent, he may oppose it to differentiate himself from her — though Trump has supported the idea in the past, Lavery said.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar is another Democratic presidential candidate who is a cosponsor of the measure.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is a hurdle to full legalization, Lavery said, but he noted that Trump could get around McConnell by using executive orders that move cannabis closer to legalization.
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