Donald Trump Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch on Marijuana

Neil Gorsuch

Donald Trump’s unorthodox and erratic governing style has many anxious with every move that he makes, justifiably. The cannabis community certainly reads the tea leaves on each and every political maneuver that may impact marijuana law reforms across the country. The nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court is no different, as he could be the deciding vote in important cases that impact the cannabis community, including whether state legalization and medical laws are protected from various lawsuits and the constitutional rights of medical cardholders. Gorsuch, a federal 10th Circuit Court judge, is considered to be in the mold of the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia.

During the campaign, we were heartened by Trump’s statements affirming his support for medical cannabis, while his tepid support for states’ rights regarding adult use could be read both positively and negatively. Jeff Sessions as attorney general has been panned by most legalization advocates, while others have taken a wait-and-see approach, hoping that the Alabama Senators’ states’ rights positions, and his willingness to follow Trump’s directive, wins the day. Jim O’Neill, one of the frontrunners to lead the FDA, on the other hand, has been welcomed by Drug War reformers.

The best way to predict out how Neil Gorsuch would rule on marijuana issues is to look at his past cases. The New York Daily News covered how Gorsuch ruled on an early cannabis industry tax case:

A Colorado dispensary was made by the IRS to pay taxes on “business expenses” that they took off, and said that they should not have to disclose the nature of their business to authorities for fear of self-incriminating, according to Courthouse News.

Gorsuch and fellow judges denied the dispensary’s motion in 2015, though the judge was sympathetic.

His opinion focused on the Obama administration as a center of the problems, saying confusion stemmed from the Justice Department saying it would not prosecute.

Who else, but Tom Angell, found where Gorsuch ruled against couple claiming a religious exemption for their marijuana use:

It will be interesting to see how Democrats treat a nominee thought to be a Scalia clone, so we can certainly expect his position on Roe V. Wade to be front and center, as abortion rights are always a hot-button issue. Congressman Earl Blumenauer, a cannabis legalization supporter, is urging his Senate Democrats to do all that they can to block Gorsuch’s nomination.

Trump’s tenure in the White House has already been pretty crazy, and I expect that we can expect a bit more craziness. Here’s hoping that cannabis legalization, a movement that can benefit patients and create jobs and revenue across our great nation, stays safe. We will be watching all nominations closely and shall forever remain vigilant.

Anthony Johnson
About Anthony Johnson 105 Articles
Anthony Johnson, a longtime cannabis law reform advocate, is the director of New Approach Oregon, working to effectively implement the cannabis legalization system while protecting small business owners and the rights of patients. He sits on the Oregon Marijuana Rules Advisory Committee and fights for sensible rules at the legislature, before regulatory bodies,and at city councils and county commissions across the state.He was proud to work as Chief Petitioner and co-author of Measure 91, Oregon's cannabis legalization effort and director of the Vote Yes on 91 PAC, the political action committees responsible for the state's legalization campaign. He also advises cannabis entrepreneurs on how to comply with Oregon's laws and helps organize the International Cannabis Business Conference and the Oregon Marijuana Business Conference. Anthony's blogs on are personal in nature and don't speak for or reflect the opinions of any group or organization. You can see his work here at as well as


  1. Thank you Mr Johnson. I found your article to be well written and informative. I personally hope that Judge Gorsuch, if confirmed, pays particular attention to the fact that the majority of the US population now supports ending the prohibition of cannabis.

  2. Donald Trump’s first 10 days have been filled with incredibly erratic moves. He has thrown out many “learned” opinions provided by career professionals that were based on hard evidence. The article,, a couple of days ago gave me hope.
    From a Spanish and European, Trump is turning the world upside down and looking to start another war. I sincerely hope that the cannabis world is not a casualty.
    Muslims from Morocco, Algeria, and other parts of Africa and the Middle East make up the majority of foreigners here in Spain. We are just 7.7 nautical miles from Continental Europe (Iberian peninsula) to Morocco located in North Africa. Spain has managed to live peacefully with Muslims for more than 500 years.

  3. I think Gorsuch will try to avoid legislating from the bench, he’s expressed such sentiments before. So while you may not see him overturn federal statues, you’ll probably see him stand up for states that legalize.

  4. Thanks for the info! Cannabis prohibition is systemically the crux of the problem here in America and sadly across the globe. Cannabis is safe. We all know that. Hemp has chemical compounds when isolated that have amazing potential to inhibit cancers, help with siezures and has massive anti-inflamatory properties. This is a business blockaide aided by worldwide goverments. The treaties that were drafted to include cannabis prohibition further enhanced their financial stronghold over the PLANT. There IS NO GOING BACKWARDS without violence.

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