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November 15, 2016

High Times' nightmare scenario for marijuana: Christie as DEA chief

Marijuana was a big winner in last Tuesday's election.

Recreational pot was legalized in four more states – California, Massachusetts, Nevada and Maine – and medical marijuana was approved in four other states – Florida, Arkansas and North Dakota – as well as Montana, where it was reaffirmed by voters.

RELATED: Beer? Wine? Or weed? Denver voters approve pot in bars | Pennsylvania: the next state to legalize recreational marijuana?

But the biggest winner on Election Day, of course, was Donald Trump.

So where does the president-elect stand on weed?

Along the campaign he expressed support for medical marijuana and the idea that states should be able to make marijuana legal.

In the seven days since his surprise victory, however, it's become clear that many of the positions he took on issues along the campaign trail won't be making the trip to the White House.

Needless to say, his view on dew is somewhat foggy.

That uncertainty feeds "Weed's Nightmare Trump Scenario," shared by Russ Belville of High Times. 

It features New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, an early backer of Trump who is rumored to be under consideration for a role in the president elect's administration, in a lofty position to stanch the progress marijuana made nationally last week.

As Drug Enforcement Agency administrator.

RELATED: 'No rhetoric, just reality': Michael Nutter's letter to Donald Trump

His bad dream starts with Rudolph Guiliani in the U.S. Attorney General's Office, Belville writes.

It continues as I imagine the rest of Trump’s Administration filling up. Perhaps a DEA Administrator Chris Christie and a Director of Office of National Drug Control Policy (Drug Czar) Kevin Sabet. Then throw in some hard-line conservatives to head up FDIC and FinCEN to decide pot banking issues; IRS and Consumer Protection Bureau heads to mess with pot business taxation and complaints; EPA and Ag Dept leaders who will deal with cultivation issues; and various US Attorneys and Immigration and Homeland Security officials who’ll deal with interstate and international considerations.

“Operation Petri Dish is our response to these states that have chosen to allow marijuana legalization,” says Administrator Christie in my nightmare. “We have teamed up with Homeland Security to create a new series of border checkpoints along Idaho’s, Nevada’s, and California’s eastern borders, Maine’s southern border, and surrounding Colorado and Massachusetts. Staffed by DEA personnel no longer needed for investigations and raids in the West, these checkpoints will act much like California’s fruit and vegetable checkpoints. DEA, along with marijuana-sniffing dogs purchased with Justice Assistance Grants from the eight states where they can no longer operate because of legalization, will ensure that the states that have legalized marijuana keep it confined to their borders.”

This week's Cannabist Show took a more realistic look at a possible Christie role in the Trump administration 

“It’s certainly a reason to be concerned about a Trump administration,” Taylor West, deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, said on this week’s Cannabist Show. “While Donald Trump has been sometimes supportive, sometimes not, sometimes falling in between on marijuana issues, Chris Christie has been pretty darn clear about where he stands — and it’s not been favorable to the industry.”

But as Brian Vicente, a Denver-based marijuana industry attorney, also points out, Christie had the power to squelch New Jersey’s budding medical marijuana program. And he didn’t.