Oh marijuana, you’re turning into the red headed stepchild everyone wants to love but just can’t agree on how to do so.

It’s been more than 20 years since California became the first state in the union to allow the devil’s weed to be used for medicinal purposes. Since then, marijuana has spread like a weed as three U.S. presidents — all opposed to legalization — sat by idly as the plant’s proliferation has come to affect the polls, politics and pizza sales.

Twenty-eight states and Washington D.C. have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational purposes. Industry revenues are in the billions. And the only topic both Democrats and Republicans can agree on is that pot should be legalized. So why during a time when the industry should be drinking Veuve Clicquot and dining on endless crab legs is its level of anxiety at an all-time high?

Turns out, the grass might not be greener on the other side of the fence. When President Trump appointed Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions as the next U.S. Attorney General, he put what would be the equivalent of a vegan PETA supporter in charge of regulating the meat industry in charge of regulating cannabis. As the pro-legalization group Drug Policy Alliance put it, “This [Jeff Sessions] was our worst nightmare.”

Should we be concerned that our worst nightmare is Jeff Sessions and not the Oedipus complex our psychologist warned us about? Yes — but not to the extent many activist decry.

Let’s look at a few of the ways the federal government could stop the doobie from being past on both the left, and right hand side.

Sue The States

What else would you expect from America, land of the free, than a beautiful lawsuit to get the point across. The Federal Government rarely pulls the legal card on states but since federal law pre-empts state law, the Justice Department could file lawsuits on the ground that the states’ laws regarding marijuana regulation are unconstitutional.

A similar case transpired in 2010 when the federal government sued Arizona over its controversial immigration law to search immigrants without warrant. The federal government won.

Not only can the federal government block action, they can also force action as was the case in Kentucky last year when Kim Davis shot to fame as the country clerk who denied same-sex marriage licenses to couples even though the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional. Kim Davis eventually succombed to the pressure. 

Will the federal government sue to block or force action on legalized marijuana, most likely not. In the last 20 years and with almost 30 states now allowing legalized marijuana, the government has yet to sue any state and experts expect this to be the case moving forward.

Raid The Pot Shops

Why waste time tied up in the legal system when you can circumvent the bureaucracy and simply raid the establishments?

The drug enforcement administration retains the legal ability to shutdown anyone growing or selling pot, although this hasn’t happened in a very long time and would require the approval of congress which saw many of its constituents vote in favor of legalization.

Even the DEA has lamented about its lack of cash and resources to go after marijuana offenders.

Would congress really reprioritize resources originally allocated to fighting terrorism and immigration toward shutting down legalized marijuana? Survey says no. Even Trump’s supporters would question this estranged logic.

Restrain the finances

Industry owners already face strong headwinds from a series of debilitating taxes and financial regulations that make profitability and growth extremely difficult in cannabis. In Denver, dispensary owners can pay up to 80 cents on the dollar in taxes and fees. 

On top of that, banks are not allowed to do business with dispensaries, essentially turning the industry into a cash business. Irony is best served cold as governments can collect the tax money but ban banks from doing business with industry. Luckily, private companies have filled the void by helping to safely transport large sums of cash.

Should congress wish to deter growth and inhibit investment, all they would need to do is not touch a thing, forcing dispensaries to continue struggling to manage capital. But as we all know, the government loves its money, and it’ll quickly realize paying down debt is easier when you have cash and with a larger industry comes larger sums of money.

The industry has already flourished under these types of harsh financial conditions, so more of this regulation would likely not do much to influence cannabis or its consumer base.  

Tighten the Regulations

Governments are famous for their overarching regulations and red tape — a common means for politicians seeking to push an agenda yet leery of going against public opinion. 

Limited dispensary licenses, caps on product potency and pesticide regulations are a few of the ways officials have use red tape in the past to influence the industry. Although these policies were intended to protect the consumer, they could also be a mechanism for federal officials to choke development of the industry.

Early in 2016, skeptics of marijuana in Denver attempted to pass a proposal capping potency on pot products. If it passed, almost 80 percent of products on shelves would have been deemed illegal. The majority of people who realized the crushing impact of such a measure voted down the proposal. 

And that’s the key ingredient: the people.

As we’ve witnessed over two decades of legal cannabis, the strength of the industry has already withstood many of the above conditions on which the federal government could plausibly interject in its growth and investment. Yet still, the political and social climate for cannabis continues to be flush with cash and ripe with support. For Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions, not only would federal intervention in the cannabis industry misallocate government resources contrary to Trump’s political agenda, it would attempt to stop a train running at full speed — a train conducted by the people.