Experts say that trying to undo legalization at this point would come with serious economic and political hurdles.
Waging a war on pot would go against the will of many voters.
“It would be a very blatant finger to the voters,” says the Drug Policy Alliance’s Amanda Reiman.
Public opinion on marijuana is going in the opposite direction.
While Democrats are generally more supportive of legalizing marijuana than Republicans, states of all shades—blue, purple and red—have embraced legal marijuana in some form, despite the fact that the federal government puts marijuana in the same class as heroin.
Trump himself has said he supports medical marijuana and that states should handle the question of whether to legalize.
It does not seem high on his list of priorities.
“He talked about changing federal policies at almost every possible level,” says Mason Tvert of the Marijuana Policy Project, “but he never said he’s itching to change the way the government is handling state marijuana laws.”
Waging a war costs money.
Many of the best-worn strategies in the war on drugs—like raids—require funding, and Congress holds the purse strings.
There’s a lot of money in marijuana these days and the prospect of much more in the future. If legal marijuana markets didn’t exist tomorrow, that would mean the shuttering of hundreds of small businesses and the loss of thousands of jobs.
The extent of federal government’s authority over these matters is unclear.
The Obama Administration issued several memos that essentially gave states that had legalized marijuana a “yellow light,” says the Drug Policy Alliance’s Reiman. If states vigorously upheld “an appropriately strict regulatory system” and protected federal interests like keeping pot out of the hands of minors, the memos suggested that the federal government would not interfere.