A week ago, voters in California approved Proposition 64, the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act. The faith and hard work of millions finally achieved their goal. Additionally, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada also approved legalization measures, and four more states approved medical cannabis - Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota, adding 8 states to the mounting total that have given the go-ahead to progressive cannabis legislation.
At this point in time, 44 states have enacted some form of medical cannabis legislation. Additionally, several ardent opponents in Congress lost their seats - John Mica (R-FL), John Fleming (R-LA) and Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL). Joe Pitts (R-PA), who blocked a hearing on the CARERS Act (H.R.1535/S. 683) has retired, while a number of supporters in the Senate have been re-elected. We should feel the wind in our hair and the heady rush of successs filling our lungs at this powerful step forward.
We truly should.
But we don't, because there's an odd smell in the air. And it denies the savor of victory we deserve, the successes we've achieved.
And that, of course, is the elephant. The one in the room with us. The one wearing car-salesman suits and an improbable shock of yellow hair, mouthing misogyny, ignorance, hatred and greed. The seven deadly sins seemingly stuffed together into the aforementioned suit, has been elected President of the United States, as in some dark, dystopian sci-fi novel. At least we didn't settle for the lesser evil...
So now that the metaphor is made, let's name him - name him and face him. Donald Trump. It's time to set the metaphor free, for there is no reason to insult elephants with the comparison.
But the newly liberated pachyderm is luckier than the rest of us. While Trump has mentioned cannabis on a number of occasions over the years, viewed over all it's not discouraging. He has said it should be handled state by state. He has also voiced his support for legal access to medical marijuana and (in 1990) that all drugs should be legalized.
But he has also said he opposes legalization and regulating cannabis for adult use. Trump has come down on several sides of the weed issue and has tried inventing himself some new ones - what was said in campaign speeches, pandering to those he sees as his voter base, is very different from what he has said in the past, and neither are likely to reflect where he actually stands on the issue. His inner circle includes a large number of cannabis opponents while, deepening the contradictions, a member of Trumps transition team, Peter Thiel, runs a venture capital fund which has funded cannabis-oriented businesses.
More directly troubling, Vice President-elect Mike Pence championed increasing posession penalties as Indiana Governor. But Friday's choice of Republican Jefferson Beauregard Sessions as Attorney General should cast a cold pall over the heart of every cannabis user, and it makes a difficult future for cannabis users and suppliers nearly a certainty.
Trump talks on both sides of his mouth and out of several different orifaces. If he placed as much value in states rights as he has claimed, it would seem unlikely he would attempt to directly and unilaterally shut down legally enacted cannabis distribution in 44 states based on Federal authority. But this too would appear to be just so much gas.
On the other hand, we can't count the sitting President out just yet; Obama just cancelled oil and gas leases on Blackfeet sacred grounds - re-scheduling cannabis before he leaves office might give us at least a little room to maneuver.
It seems certain that the struggle for legal cannabis is not over, and may be poised to take a painfully large step backward. Additionally, it's clear that multiple on-going companion struggles - the Dakota Pipeline, women's rights, LGBT rights and safety, and the rights and safety of minorities and immigrants - in short, all of us - will doubtless come under increasing pressure from Trump and his crew.
So look in the mirror. Why am I wearing a beret, you ask. Why the soiled scarf, the striped shirt, the drab military fatigues? Why am I dressed up in Resistance Fighter cosplay?