There's going to be a ton of free marijuana at Donald Trump's inauguration
Going by some impromptu estimations, Nikolah Schiller figures that he'll need up to three pounds of marijuana for Donald Trump's inauguration — that's about how much goes into 4,200 joints.
Schiller is the cofounder of DCMJ, Washington, D.C.'s marijuana advocacy group which will join thousands of protesters on Inauguration Day to make sure Trump keeps a vital item on his agenda: allowing Americans to not just smoke marijuana without being thrown behind bars in record numbers, but to start businesses that generate valuable tax revenue.
"We want some clarity from the Trump administration, because we've not heard anything from the Trump administration about cannabis reform since the election," Schiller told Mic. "We believe one great way to make America great again is to stop putting people in jail for a plant that's less harmful than tobacco and alcohol."
The DCMJ team is already gearing up to provide as much free weed as they can for anyone who wants it at the protests. The team's already rolled about 420 joints, and is hoping other activists in the area will contribute so they can reach their goal of 4,200 joints. Schiller says that Republican efforts to suppress the marijuana trade in D.C. means there are no recreational dispensaries in the city, so instead the protesters are relying on legally home-grown weed from the nation's capital.
There are restrictions, of course. They're going to ask for IDs for those under 21, and no one organizer can carry more than one ounce each. They know intimately how to avoid arrest as they hand out cannabis, because they helped write the law that made it legal.
Schiller and DCMJ were instrumental in gathering the tens of thousands of signatures and the support needed to pass Initiative 71, the law passed in 2014 that makes recreational marijuana legal to grow and possess in the nation's capital.
"We've seen in our travels that cannabis reform isn't a partisan issue, so we want people to show up whether or not they voted for Trump," Schiller said.
Donald Trump said in 2015 that he supported medical marijuana legalization, but wanted to leave the lawmaking to the states. But it could be Trump's appointees that could set back the movement for marijuana legalization.
Trump's choice for attorney general is Jeff Sessions, an Alabama senator who espouses some of the most dramatic anti-marijuana rhetoric of any legislator, once saying that he even thought the Ku Klux Klan "was OK until I found out they smoked pot."
"Good people don't smoke marijuana," Sessions said in April 2016 at a Senate drug hearing.
Regardless of Trump's states' rights posturing on marijuana, Sessions could undo the progress made by individual states with the Department of Justice at his behest. Marijuana businesses already have trouble banking because of the federal prohibition, forcing dispensaries to move large piles of cash around in armored cars to prevent dangerous robberies.
And now that seven new states freshly legalized marijuana, anti-marijuana governors like Charlie Baker of Massachusetts and Paul LePage of Maine will be looking to Sessions for guidance on how to enact their new laws, according to Philadelphia-based journalist and marijuana advocate Chris Goldstein.
"The marijuana industry will have to rely on new memos from Sessions' Department of Justice, and governors like Baker and Page could ring their hands for months and years, waiting for guidance," Goldstein said in an interview.
So marijuana activists are trying to force Sessions to account for his anti-marijuana views in a campaign they call #SmokeSessions, holding protests and offering dank nugs to staffers at Sessions' Washington, D.C., offices.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold hearings for Sessions' confirmation to the position. So in preparation, DCMJ walked the halls of Congress and stopped by Senate offices to hand out recommended questions for Sessions about his intent for federal marijuana enforcement policies.
As for the protest on the big day itself, the festivities will start early in the morning on the west side of Dupont Circle, where they'll have snacks, an open mic and a pile of joints to hand out. At 10 a.m., the march will move to the National Mall. The mall is federal land, so smoking cannabis there puts participants at risk of arrest. That's a risk the pro-marijuana organizers are willing to take.
"It's not just a feel good, let's get high moment — it's an act of civil disobedience," Schiller said. "The Trump administration has unfinished business with cannabis reform."