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Nervous about a Trump presidency? Me too. But at least I’ve got legal weed

  • Donald Trump has previously expressed “100% support” for medical marijuana and recently told the Washington Post that “in terms of marijuana and legalization … I really believe we should leave it up to the states” .
  • The Justice Department, DEA, FBI – for them to try to straddle and figure out how they’re supposed to enforce laws in some places and not in others … I don’t think legalization is a panacea, but I think that we’re going to need to have a more serious conversation about how we’re treating marijuana and our drug laws generally.”
  • Add up all the votes cast for cannabis on Tuesday night, and it quickly becomes clear that support for legalization dwarfs that for either major presidential candidate or political party.
  • In a pre-election interview with comedian Bill Maher, Obama went so far as to predict that such a resounding victory would actually make federal prohibition of cannabis “untenable” going forward.
  • On Tuesday, states with pro-marijuana ballot measures voted overwhelmingly in favor of legalization.

Writer and cannabis consultant David Bienenstock reflects on a night of progressive marijuana legislation – in the face of regressive everything else

@guardian: Nervous about a Trump presidency? Me too. But at least I’ve got legal weed

I spent the biggest election day in cannabis history streaming live from the roof of High Times headquarters in Los Angeles. I’d rolled nine joints in advance of going on the air – one for each state voting on legalization (adult use, or medicinal) – and vowed to smoke them all, on camera, if and when each ballot initiative passed. Needless to say, as a longtime marijuana journalist, and author of a book called How to Smoke Pot (Properly) , I was hoping to get really, really blazed by the end of the night.

And I did!

Voters in Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada and my home state of California all put up solid majorities in favor of ending the war on weed entirely, while medical marijuana swept the field, including garnering 70% of the vote in Florida, and posting impressive wins in some very conservative states – Arkansas, North Dakota and Montana. Only Arizona’s full legalization measure narrowly failed to pass, and that only after an opposition campaign of lies and distortions saturated the airwaves, bankrolled by a billionaire anti-marijuana zealot.

In fact, add up all the votes cast for cannabis on Tuesday night, and it quickly becomes clear that support for legalization dwarfs that for either major presidential candidate or political party.

So if there was any doubt left, the 2016 election cycle just demonstrated, once and for all, that a grassroots cannabis movement that was once ridiculed and derided by the entire political establishment has effectively taken its case directly to the people and emerged triumphant as a popular bi-partisan policy — one that’s set to spread like a grassfire.

In a pre-election interview with comedian Bill Maher, Obama went so far as to predict that such a resounding victory would actually make federal prohibition of cannabis “untenable” going forward.

“The good news is that after this referenda … if, in fact, it passed in all these states – you now have about a fifth of the country that’s operating under one set of laws, and four-fifths in another,” Obama told the popular talk show host and well known cannabis enthusiast. “The Justice Department, DEA, FBI – for them to try to straddle and figure out how they’re supposed to enforce laws in some places and not in others … I don’t think legalization is a panacea, but I think that we’re going to need to have a more serious conversation about how we’re treating marijuana and our drug laws generally.”

My hope is that conversation will take place not just in the US but all around the world. America created the modern war on weed – a policy fueled by ignorance, xenophobia and a desire for social control over marginalized communities – and then exported it across the globe. So now, presumably, our moves towards compassion, science and common sense will give license to other countries eager to follow suit.

There’s just one problem.

In the same election, Americans brought to power a president-elect whose divide and conquer rhetoric frighteningly recalls the authoritarian impulses, disregard for reality, and disdain for immigrants, intellectuals and minorities that sparked America’s original herbal vendetta against marijuana back in the 1930s.

Not that a rollback on legal weed is inevitable, or even likely. Donald Trump has previously expressed “100% support” for medical marijuana and recently told the Washington Post that “in terms of marijuana and legalization … I really believe we should leave it up to the states”.

Given these statements, the widespread popularity of legalization, and all of the money to be made selling this most wondrous weed, most cannabis reformers and industry leaders currently expect our next president to take a hands-off approach.

But then again, Trump’s currently busy surrounding himself with men like New Jersey governor Chris Christie and former New York City mayor Rudy Guiliani, both of whom have awful records on this issue, and either of whom could end up US Attorney General.

And what’s most troubling – for weed and everything else – is seeing the citizenry of my country support a man who consistently appealed to our worst nature, backed by a promise to make “restoring law-and-order” his top priority.

J Edgar Hoover, the legendary founder and head of the FBI for about 40 years, and a supposed public servant cut from this same cloth, once famously observed that “justice is incidental to law and order”.

Chilling words to consider at this viscerally frightening moment in American history. With the upshot being that despite all of marijuana’s exciting electoral victories this year, I’m feeling pretty despondent at the moment – not to mention extremely nauseous a full three days after the vote.

Luckily, I’ve got a fat sack of fully legal weed to get me through.

David Bienenstock is head of content at High Times magazine.

Nervous about a Trump presidency? Me too. But at least I’ve got legal weed

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