Sunday, July 14, 2024

Election 2016 Op-Ed: We Smoked The Vote Against Marijuana Prohibition

It was a great night for legal cannabis, as voters across the country overwhelming rejected the failed policies of federal marijuana prohibition, along with the political establishment.

In what can only be described as a watershed moment for the marijuana movement, adult-use cannabis was legalized in Nevada, Maine, Massachusetts and the behemoth California, bringing the total now to 8 legal recreational states.

Medical Marijuana initiatives enjoyed similar success — passing in Florida, Montana, North Dakota and Arkansas, with only Arizona falling short. The entire Pacific corridor – Alaska, Washington, Oregon and California – is now a legal pot zone, putting real pressure on the Federal government to change its cannabis policy. No longer just a “wild west” phenomenon, legal marijuana will now be available for sale to adults 21+ on both coasts and in our nation’s biggest playground.

I spent election night at a fundraiser for the NORML Women of Washington, hosted by Ah Warner, CEO of Cannabis Basics, and founder of the legendary Women of Weed social club.

Inside The Party

The party took place in the Magnolia neighborhood of Seattle, and brought together a collection of Washington’s cannabis elite: pot farmers, longtime activists, cannabusiness owners, and even a political candidate or two.

In a festive party setting — red, white and blue bunting, giant joints and Uncle Sam hats —ladies in pantsuits and men with “I Smoked The Vote” buttons enjoyed Madame President cocktails (bourbon, ginger ale and lime), dined on chocolate and cheese fondue, and passed joints.

Photos courtesy of Dave Rheins
Photos courtesy of Dave Rheins

The attendees, mostly female, came expecting to witness the election of first women president, and to welcome a gaggle of new states into the legal cannabis industry. It turned out to be a different kind of evening.

From the beginning it became clear that this was not Hillary Clinton’s night. While the party enjoyed moments of celebration as each new legal state was announced, the mood in the room was muted, with many feeling real concern as it became clear that Trump would triumph.

What will a new Trump administration, which will likely include drug warriors Chris Christie and Rudy Giuliani, do about legal cannabis? Will a zealous Christie go after the legal states, as he had promised from the campaign stump? Are we looking at Rudy Giuliani as our next FBI Director? Some hoped that Trump will side with State’s Rights and not interfere with the will of the people.

Of greater concern to folks in the room, was what a Trump presidency means for women’s rights, gay rights and the rights of minorities. Many had spent a lifetime fighting for these progressive causes, and they felt stunned at the prospect of losing ground after all these years of struggle.

“The country likes pot, but it doesn’t like women,” groused one attendee.

“I’m concerned about my daughters and granddaughters and what might happen if Trump-appointed Supreme Court Justices overturn Roe v Wade,” confessed another.

‘I’m moving to Canada’ jokes peppered the conversation.

“You can’t,” joked one party-goer, “Twitter is reporting The Canadian Immigration site just crashed.”

Thank God we’ve got legal weed. We’re going to need it.


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