Fact Check

Donald Trump Says He'll Legalize Weed In Every State

A disreputable web site claimed that the president-elect promised to legalize marijuana everywhere, but we found no record of that comment.

Published Nov. 18, 2016

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Donald Trump will legalize marijuana in all 50 states.

On 30 October 2016, the disreputable web site JTF.org shared a story claiming that then-presidential candidate Donald Trump vowed to legalize marijuana in all U.S. states:

If you are looking for the presidential candidate most likely to ensure marijuana will be legalized across the country, Donald Trump is your man.

Trump is on record claiming US ‘drug enforcement is a joke’ and drugs should be legalized to ‘take the profit away from these drug czars.’

According to Trump, tax revenues from the legalized drug trade will be used to educate the public about the dangers of drugs.

JTF stands for Jewish Task Force. They describe themselves, somewhat confusingly, as:

Arguing in support of Israel's right wing extremist groups, and against Islam. Also expressing contempt for African Americans.

The election of Donald Trump on 8 November 2016 has prompted questions about how he would respond to new laws in states that have recently legalized recreational marijuana use. And while he has been vague on the issue, claims that he promised to legalize it in all states are false. We found no explicit promise from Trump, either as a candidate or president-elect, to legalize marijuana in all states.

Trump did talk about legalizing drugs to drain profit from illicit dealers, but he made the comment in 1990, long before he entered the presidential race. In 2015, Trump said marijuana legalization should be decided on the state level. But on 18 November 2016, Trump selected a legislator who is notably hostile to legal weed to serve as his attorney general:

President-elect Donald Trump’s reported pick of Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions as the nation’s top law enforcement officer should “scare the hell out of the marijuana industry,” drug policy expert John Hudak told The Cannabist on Friday.

Sessions, who has railed against marijuana legalization, could play a prominent role in the future of the burgeoning $7.4 billion industry. After November’s election, 28 states and Washington, D.C., have approved medical marijuana programs, and eight have expanded to full adult use of recreational cannabis.

It's impossible to say what Trump will do in the future. Even if he had been explicit on the matter, he has been known to change course on issues. His recent comments seem to indicate that he will lean toward a practice of letting each state decide whether to legalize marijuana, but his choice of Sessions as attorney general could set a different national tone.



Hotakainen, Rob. "Donald Trump and marijuana: Will the two biggest winners of 2016 get along?"   McClatchyDC. 9 November 2016.

Wallace, Alicia. "Donald Trump’s pick for attorney general not fan of legal weed."   The Denver Post. 18 November 2016.

Timm, Jane. "A Full List of Donald Trump's Rapidly Changing Policy Positions."   NBC News. 7 November 2016.

Bethania Palma is a journalist from the Los Angeles area who has been working in the news industry since 2006.

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