The Wink In Weed: 2016 Elections, A WTF Moment

By David Rheins

It is the morning after the 2016 elections and I’m still having a WTF moment.  I did not expect to be waking up to a President Trump, and the notion of The Donald as our Commander In Chief for the next four years seems more than a little surreal.

But despite the disappointing news, last night was a clear victory for those of us in legal cannabis.  Like most of my peers, I am excited to see the marijuana reform movement achieve critical mass, even as I remain unsure of what sort of Federal Drug Policy a Trump administration might take, given likely prominent roles by prohibitionists Chris Christie and Rudy Giuliani.

Overwhelming, ‘we the people’ have voted for legal cannabis. History was made last night, as the country added 4 new adult-use marijuana states – California, Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts – doubling the total to 8 states plus D.C. and affirming once and for all that the public has had enough of the failed War on Drugs.

2016 Election Night NORML Women of Washington Fundraiser

2016 Election Night NORML Women of Washington Fundraiser

With the entire Pacific corridor now a legal cannabis zone, federal enforcement of prohibition becomes “untenable” President Obama recently told HBO’s Bill Maher. However, that doesn’t mean that a conservative administration won’t make life more difficult for legal cannabis states to create and maintain regulated legal markets.

Many remain nervous. A cannabis attorney I spoke with this morning suggested that this election could mean huge changes to his business, and could easily dampen the growth of the budding industry that he and his firm have helped to create.

At a NORML Women of Washington fundraiser last night, dozens of industry folks gathered to watch the election results.  Many were shocked by the rejection of Hillary Clinton, and feared what it might mean to hard-fought victories of women and minority communities.   “Although I am happy about the major advances for marijuana legalization that happened all over the country last night, and what that means for my company and our culture, it is impossible for me to celebrate as I have never felt so devalued as a woman,” Cannabis Basics’ CEO Ah Warner told MJNN. “The fact that quite possibly the most qualified candidate ever lost her bid for the Oval to the personification of celebrity, bigotry, misogyny and greed is a devastating wakeup call about who we really are as a country. My heart bleeds for the women, no matter what their accomplishments, who will go to their graves knowing that they were never more than second class citizens.”

Others are optimistic about the economic opportunity of the expanding legal marketplace. “My business just got better,” a cannabis media executive told me. “Eight new markets just opened up. Think of all the new brands that need building, all the companies who will need our expertise and advice. I’m excited! We’re ratcheting our industry up to the next level.”

For while voters soundly rejected Hillary Clinton and the political status quo, Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike overwhelmingly embraced legal weed. The legal cannabis genie is out of the bottle as the topic of legalization take its rightful place on the centerstage of political discourse, creating a dissonance between federal and state law that will force a change in federal marijuana policy.

What began as an “experiment” in Colorado and Washington just four years ago has now spread from coast to coast, in red states and blue states. Last night’s election was a victory for America’s fastest growing industry – and it will certainly mean new interest, investment and acceptance.

 

 

Lt. Gov. Newsom: California Will Legalize Cannabis In 2016

CALIFORNIA:  Californians will legalize, tax and regulate cannabis for adult use in the 2016 general election, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom told Real Time with Bill Maher Friday.

The statement amounts one of to the most strident predictions — from one of the world’s highest ranking politicians — about the success of such an initiative.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher Friday, Aug. 7, and during a question and answer segment said:

“As some folks may know, we’re very likely to have a ballot initiative in 2016 and we have strong confidence that we’ll win. We gotta to do it right and be thoughtful and deal with the legitimate concerns folks have about our children, and not allowing Big Tobacco come in and do Big Marijuana. So we want to do it in a very thoughtful way and we want to have that opportunity next year.”

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4GjXC5FCXuk?enablejsapi=1]

After Maureen Dowd’s Pot Disaster, Bill Maher Offers ‘New Rules’ For Marijuana Beginners

COLORADO: On Friday night’s episode of “Real Time,” Bill Maher offered some advice to viewers and to the state of Colorado about how to use marijuana safely and effectively, which we need to do, he said, because “after all, we’re pretending it’s medicine, aren’t we?”

“Now that the people of Colorado have legalized pot for everybody,” said Maher, “and not just long time sufferers of…well, whatever it is that I have, they must realize that they are the Jackie Robinson of marijuana legislation.”

“You guys have to get this right,” he said to the people of Colorado, “or else you’ll ruin it for everybody, so embrace it. Be the Jackie Robinson of pot.”

Bill Maher On Marijuana: ‘It’s My Culture Now’

NEVADA: Bill Maher’s admission last week that a Las Vegas club stopped him from smoking marijuana reminded me of a first: The first, and only, time I saw illegal drug use at a headliner’s party was not long after I arrived here in 1999.

A veteran headliner and his wife invited me to join them at the Foundation Room atop Mandalay Bay for the aforementioned headliner’s after-party.

We were led to one of the backrooms. We were early. Only a handful of invitees were there. [Read more…]

Bill Maher: Pot ‘Way Less Dangerous’

CALIFORNIA:  Liberal comic Bill Maher praised the president for his comments that marijuana isn’t more dangerous than alcohol that were published this week in an interview with the New Yorker, but thinks he doesn’t go far enough in supporting legalization.

“I just think it shows how out of whack we are with this issue because we all applaud it when [President Barack Obama] said, ‘I don’t think pot is more dangerous than alcohol,’” Maher said Friday, quoting Obama’s interview with the New Yorker, during his HBO program “Real Time with Bill Maher.” [Read more…]

2013 Top 50 Most Influential Marijuana Users

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: The Marijuana Polcy Project has released its second annual “Top 50 Most Influential Marijuana Users” list. There has been quite a bit of variation since last year, including several additions and a number of people dropping in rank or off the list entirely. [Read more…]