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What Will Trump’s Inauguration Mean for Weed Legalization?

Don't make me fight for my medicine

The day that Donald Trump was elected to be the 45th president of the United States of America, those in the legal marijuana industry took a collective gasp out of fear and wonder of what this election could mean for the emergent industry.

Election Day back in November 2016 represented a huge victory for pot entrepreneurs with the passing of Proposition 64 in California, which will legalize recreational marijuana in the state. However, it could be argued that the anti-pot Trump’s election trumped any sort of victory. Although other states such as Massachusetts and Nevada followed in California’s footsteps, suggesting that legalization of recreational marijuana is becoming more widespread at the state level, it’s hard to celebrate state victories when federal positions are still acting as sticks in the mud for marijuana legalization progress.

While the world is waiting in anxious anticipation to see how President Elect Trump will handle many aspects of his presidency, from intelligence and national security, to job creation, to turning around the economy, pot entrepreneurs have their eye on Trump in regards to the following aspects of marijuana:

Advocates Will Let Trump Know Their Concerns

One poignant event that will undoubtedly shoot pot into the public discourse at the federal level is Trump’s inauguration ceremony scheduled for later this week, where Adam Eidinger, who was instrumental in Washington’s legalization efforts will pass out 420,000 joints to those in attendance at the inauguration ceremony.

In the wake of Trump’s appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions announcing that “good people don’t smoke marijuana”, Eidinger hopes that by using this tactic at Trump’s inauguration, he’ll bring the topic of legalization to the forefront again so to keep the discourse going.

In Washington, it is legal to carry up to two ounces of marijuana and gift it to people, but not sell it. Eidinger hopes that his efforts will bring attention to the existing gaps in the legalization processes across the country. This is expected to be the first in many weed-related advocacy efforts that the country will see in the early days of the Trump presidency.

Medical Effects May be Better Understood

Since medical marijuana made its way into the public discourse, the jury has been out on the exact ways that cannabis affects people on a medical level and oftentimes, there has not been enough research to substantiate any claims.

A report was published earlier this month by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine that summarized the findings of over 10,000 different studies that looked at the medical effects of cannabis. While this report was quite helpful in showing the positive medical effects of marijuana, especially in terms of treating chronic pain, nausea, and diseases that include spasms and tremors as side effects, it showed the possible connection between marijuana and later in life respiratory issues, addiction issues and other mental health issues.

This doesn’t mean that the argument towards the health benefits of marijuana is any more weakened; if anything, it is a strong statement towards the need for more funding for marijuana research to fully understand its specific effects, in order to protect areas where marijuana is proven beneficial and provide more regulations and education for use for where it could have potentially negative effects. It will be interesting to see whether advocacy for increased marijuana research will be able to thrive under Trump’s presidency.

More Confusion May Be Abound

While state-regulated legalization of marijuana for both medical and recreational use will likely (hopefully) not be threatened by Trump and his Cabinet, things are happening at the federal level that only seeks to muddy the waters in terms of the discourse on legality.

As of now, both marijuana and marijuana extracts (CBDs) are classified as Schedule 1 Drugs by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which makes them strictly illegal at the federal level. With 26 states being in some stage of the legalization process, some including only medical marijuana level while others advocate for both medical and recreational marijuana, it is incredibly confusing for users and potential users, as well as the pot naysayers, on where the line on legalization actually stands. These confusions can only add to stigmatization and the persistence of old-school Reefer Madness-style ideas about pot.

It is likely that Donald Trump and his brigade of anti-pot smokers will stir up some sort of trouble that will attempt to place more power in the hands of the feds using the DEA Classifications as justification as well as their strong conservative views.

Despite this, those in the legal marijuana industry, as well as the users of marijuana, will remain strong in the hopes that state-regulated legalization is what will set the tone for a better understanding of marijuana nationwide.

Bracing Ourselves For Change While Standing United

In just a few days, the world is going to change drastically as Donald J. Trump takes office. Over the past few months since he was elected, Americans and the world in various industries, causes and positions have made some pretty strong statements on the ways they will not let his Presidency affect their rights as Americans. The marijuana industry will be no exception.

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