Pro-marijuana protesters preparing to light thousands of joints at Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration in a bid for national legalization of the drug are worried of a reversal of current gains if his attorney general pick is confirmed in hearings starting on Tuesday.
The use of the drug, which has been permitted for recreational use in the District of Columbia and eight other US states but continues to be prohibited by federal law, has long been condemned by US Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, Trump’s nominee.
On Monday, one of the organizers of the plan to hand out and light 4,200 joints during the Jan. 20 inauguration, longtime Washington pro-marijuana activist Adam Eidinger, said that protesters sporting T-shirts saying: “Great Americans Smoke Marijuana” would be lined up for Sessions’ hearing before dawn.
In a telephone interview, Eidinger said, “This is political warfare. There is no respect in Washington for the marijuana movement or its business interest right now.”
The protest will be among dozens of demonstrations plotted against Trump, a Republican real estate developer whose campaign assurances included deporting millions of illegal immigrants and erecting a wall on the Mexican border.
Eidinger said he and other activists and entrepreneurs are worried that Sessions could wipe away advances for legal marijuana throughout the United States.
Members of his group intend to light the joints at four minutes and 20 seconds into Trump’s inaugural speech if he has not supported the initiative of national legalization. The date of April 20, or 4/20, relates to the figure commonly identified within the cannabis subculture as a symbol for all things marijuana.
Trump stated during his run for election that marijuana legalization was best left to the states. There were about 640,000 marijuana-related arrests in 2015, FBI figures show.
28 states have legalized marijuana use for medical reasons in addition to the states that have legalized it for recreational use.
National Cannabis Industry Association deputy director Taylor West said legal marijuana sales amounted to almost $7 billion last year, an amount estimated to reach $20 billion in 2021.
Regarding the incoming administration, she said that they are watching the situation very closely.