What the Drug War Could Look Like Under President Trump

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For marijuana legalization advocates, election night brought a lot of good news: Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada and California all legalized the drug for recreational purposes, plus voters approved medical marijuana measures in Florida, Arkansas and North Dakota and relaxed restrictions on a medical pot law already in effect in Montana. Arizona was the only state to vote down a marijuana initiative, and it was defeated by a relatively slim margin.

The spate of victories was the cherry on top of several years of progress on issues like sentencing reform, civil asset forfeiture reform, clemency and harm-reduction.

“We’ve been working for years or decades on all these reforms. And we’re finally feeling, especially these last two or three years of the Obama administration, that oh my God, things are actually moving forward,” says Ethan Nadelmann, who founded the Drug Policy Alliance in 2000 and one of the foremost experts on drug policy efforts underway around the country.

The one major curveball of the evening was, of course, Donald Trump winning the presidency. “Hillary looked like she was going to be a continuation of the Obama policies on the stuff that we work on,” Nadelmann tells Rolling Stone. So what will happen to the movement with Trump and his administration in power?

Just how devastating President Trump will be for the drug policy reform community was a subject of some debate in the days immediately following his surprise win. On the rare occasion Trump has addressed the issue, he’s expressed support for medical marijuana and, on the issue of legalization more broadly, he’s said he thinks “we should leave it up to the states.”

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