The Challenges Facing Legal Weed in America

Article by Vice News

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The 2016 United States election was historic in a very obvious way—but it also had seismic effects on the ongoing movement to legalize marijuana in the country. Maine, Nevada, and Massachusetts all legalized pot for recreational use, while North Dakota, Montana, Arkansas, and Florida all passed measures in favor of medicinal marijuana. (Arizona voted against recreational pot use.)

What do these new measures mean for those who use marijuana, and for those looking to profit off of the US’s growing acceptance of the drug? And what is the Trump administration going to do about weed? We talked to Weediquette host Krishna Andavolu about these topics; what follows is an edited and condensed version of that conversation.

VICE: Amid everything that happened in this election, there was also a lot of movement in terms of the legal issues surrounding marijuana regulation in America.
Krishna Andavolu:
There’s a huge amount of disappointment that I’m feeling about the outcome of the presidential election, but [the election was] also a lesson that persistence, on a grassroots level, can shape public policy over time in a way that is logically and scientifically consistent, as well as beneficial at a public policy level. From California’s perspective, it might not seem like things are all that different—medical marijuana has been legal there for a long time, and if you’re a motivated weed buyer, you can find it. But it’s symbolic in that it shows that concerted action over decades at a grassroots level can actually produce change, which is something to actually be hopeful about and understand as part of our American democracy.

It is just weed—a minor issue if you look at what’s at stake as far as global warming, nuclear nonproliferation, and other issues that our president can address, but politics is about results and practice. We can tip our hats to the generations of weed activists who people thought were stupid, crazy, or dumb for working on a minor league issue but have, against all odds, been successful. We’ve reached a tipping point where it’s inevitable that pot will no longer be thought of as [similar to] heroin, but [similar to] alcohol, and the next 40, 50, or 100 years of how we consider the punitive elements of marijuana have changed—not [entirely] for good, but it’s going to be good to roll [the punitive elements] back.

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