The Republican Party has long been at odds over how to handle the issue of marijuana legalization. But the Trump administration's attacks on cannabis may divide the party further going into 2018.
The GOP has long been split into two camps on marijuana. On one side is the libertarian-leaning wing who believe that the issue should be left up to the states. On the other side, is the moral police wing who push the myths about marijuana being a gateway drug that leads to more dangerous behavior, and want to keep the drug illegal. Bloomberg says that these two camps will be tested in 2018 as Jeff Sessions and the Trump administration continue their policies to attack marijuana legalization.
Perhaps one way this divide will become evident is in Republican primaries. Late last year a poll came out showing that the majority of Republican voters support marijuana legalization. It's possible that a new crop of GOP candidates will arise this year who support marijuana legalization, which would put even more pressure on the "moral police" wing to stop their policies.
Another issue for the Republican Party is vulnerable candidates for re-election. Considering Trump's unpopularity as president, Democrats are targeting a number of GOP politicians to remove from office next November and possibly retake the majority in the House and/or Senate. A lot of the most vulnerable GOP politicians are in states like California, Nevada and Colorado, all states with legalized marijuana. A Trump administration war on marijuana would likely result in backlash against these candidates. That's part of the reason so many Republicans have spoken out against Sessions' recent policies.
If Republicans had any sense, they'd probably push Sessions to cool off before their party ends up on the wrong side of history.