Washington pot protesters have wary eye on Trump’s attorney general pick

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By Ian Simpson | WASHINGTON

WASHINGTON Pro-marijuana activists planning to
light thousands of joints at Donald Trump’s presidential
inauguration in a call for national legalization of the drug
fear a reversal of recent gains if his attorney general pick is
confirmed in hearings beginning on Tuesday.

Trump’s nominee, U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, has
long condemned use of the drug, which has been legalized for
recreational use in eight U.S. states and the District of
Columbia but remains banned by federal law. Sessions has opposed
attempts to legalize marijuana and reduce drug sentences

Longtime Washington pro-marijuana activist Adam Eidinger,
one of the organizers of the plan to distribute and light 4,200
joints during the Jan. 20 inauguration, said on Monday that
protesters wearing T-shirts saying: “Great Americans Smoke
Marijuana” would be in line for Sessions’ hearing before dawn.

“This is political warfare. There is no respect in
Washington for the marijuana movement or its business interest
right now,” Eidinger said in a telephone interview.

The demonstration will be among dozens of protests planned against Trump, a Republican real estate developer whose campaign
promises included building a wall on the Mexican border and
deporting millions of illegal immigrants.

Trump’s transition team did not reply to a request for
comment.

Eidinger said he and other activists and entrepreneurs feared Sessions could erase gains for legal marijuana across the
United States.

“I don’t want to go to jail. This a real thing for a lot of
people,” he said.

Members of his group plan to light the joints at four
minutes and 20 seconds into Trump’s inaugural speech if he has
not backed the idea of national legalization. The date of April
20, or 4/20, corresponds with the figure widely recognized
within the cannabis subculture as a symbol for all things
marijuana.

Trump said during the election campaign that marijuana
legalization was best left to the states. FBI figures show there
were about 640,000 marijuana-related arrests in 2015.

In addition to the states that have legalized marijuana for
recreational use, 28 states have legalized use for medical
purposes.

Taylor West, the deputy director of the National Cannabis
Industry Association, a trade group, said legal marijuana sales
totaled nearly $7 billion last year, a figure projected to reach
$20 billion in 2021.

“We are certainly watching the situation very closely,” she
said of the incoming administration.



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