11.21.2016
policy

7 of 8 Legal Weed States Voted Against Trump; That’s a Problem

Are you ready for payback?

Aside from Alaska, every state that either has a current legal recreational weed program or voted to pass one also voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential election. That means, in an alternate fantasy world, a nonexistent universe where Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin had all taken the precaution of putting adult-use-marijuana measures on the ballot, Hillary Clinton could have been the President-elect of the United States of America. In this speculative land, Hillary is currently firing up a bowl in thanks to the ganja vote, assembling her cabinet members, and preparing for a smooth transition of power.

In the real world, however, those who know him and many who simply observe and fear him describe President-elect Donald Trump as a retaliatory person. There is a chance that he is displeased with the marijuana states that collectively endorsed his rival. Trump’s campaign-trail promise to put opponent Hillary Clinton behind bars, and his quick-draw Twitter slap downs to perceived slights, give the impression that America’s next President neither forgets or forgives people or entities that cross him—and that includes entire states.

The legal weed states that pledged their Electoral College votes for Hillary Clinton can presume they are now inscribed on Trump’s post-inauguration hit list.

Politics is an art of settling scores and getting even. Though former New Jersey governor Chris Christie has been banished from the Trump posse by Trump’s son-in-law, New York Observer publisher Jared Kushner, in revenge for Christie’s role in sending Kushner’s father, Charles Kushner, to prison in 2005, the do-unto-others mentality evident throughout Christie’s career is still very much in evidence at Camp Trump.

The legal weed states that pledged their Electoral College votes for Hillary Clinton—Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Colorado, Maine, and Massachusetts—can presume they are now inscribed on Trump’s post-inauguration hit list. Pot purveyors in these states, according to numerous news outlets and basic common sense, are appropriately unnerved by Trump’s selection of the junior Republican senator from Alabama, Jeff Sessions, for Attorney General.

As Attorney General, Sessions will be in charge of the DEA, the FBI, the ATF, the U.S. Marshals, and the Bureau of Prisons. Furthermore, the Offices of Legal Policy and Public Affairs will be answering to Sessions.

About marijuana, Sessions is on record as telling the United States Senate: ““Marijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized, it ought not to be minimized. It’s in fact a very real danger.”

Furthermore, the ACLU warns that, in addition to being a steadfast proponent for the War on Drugs, Sessions has an expansive position on Presidential power during time of war.

If this all sounds like dystopian fiction, touched by paranoia, like the ravings of an alarmist spectator, you have company.

It’s all too easy to imagine the bullet points of the incoming Attorney General’s memo to the President-elect arguing for eradication of adult-use government-sanctioned weed in those United States that allow recreational marijuana—states that in seven out of eight cases voted against Donald Trump.

• Marijuana remains an illegal, Schedule 1 substance subject to criminal penalties under federal law.

• Currently, budgetary restrictions and a Justice Department directive are the only things allowing legal weed states to operate marijuana marketplaces unmolested by federal agents. These budgetary and Justice stipulations are temporary and fully rescindable.

• Shutting down legal-weed operators would be easy wins for the militarized units of the DEA and other federal law-enforcement agencies.

• The seven legal-weed states that voted against Trump will be deprived of all the marijuana revenue streams and tax dollars they had hoped to soak up.

• Actions against state legal-weed business people will result in massive asset forfeitures that will function as rewards for law-enforcement organizations that endorsed Trump over Clinton.

• Mass arrests on felony charges including conspiracy and racketeering, resulting in multiyear sentences, will send a steady supply of fresh meat to the prison unions that supported Trump.

• Pot smokers and weed dealers have no civil rights acts or anti-discrimination legislation to protect them.

• An influx of weed-worker arrests will create a bottleneck situation for social justice defense lawyers and will diminish the effective force of these advocates if the Trump Administration decides to next target other vulnerable groups, such as undocumented immigrants or Muslim residents.

If this all sounds like dystopian fiction, touched by paranoia, like the ravings of an alarmist spectator, you have company. A commentator on Alternet, for instance, suggested that Trump is unlikely to go after weed for three reasons:

1) The federal government cannot repeal the state laws legalizing adult-use marijuana.

2) Marijuana legalization is more popular than Trump.

3) Trump has said he considers recreational weed a state-by-state issue.

Those three points might be reassuring except that the federal government can impose a de facto ban without altering state law, Donald Trump has shown a deep disregard for perceived popularity, and as for state-by-state decision making, those statements were uttered long before seven of the eight legal-weed states voted against the candidate.

If you are a weed businessperson, it’s perfectly sane to calculate the improbability of President-elect Trump taking vengeance on the weed-friendly states that were unfriendly to him. While doing those calculations, it might be a good idea to visit your accountant and determine how best to arrange title of your money and your property to shield your family from the consequences of asset forfeiture.

Beyond that, we all need to be smart and vigilant in the coming months and on into a Trump administration. To paraphrase Michael Corleone: “Keep your enemies close, but keep your lawyers closer.”

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