What Do the Top Presidential Candidates Think About Legalization?
As we approach another election year, things are definitely heating up in the political climate. But we’re mostly concerned with one thing: what the top candidates think about cannabis. After outstanding progress made in recent years in terms of legalization and availability of medicinal marijuana, we want to make sure that we aren’t going backward on our favorite pastime!
Let’s see what the leading candidates think (last updated Sept. 20, 2019)!
The leading democratic nominee has historically been an outspoken proponent of the infamous war on drugs. Unfortunately, recent years haven’t seen him soften his positions, at least not how we’d like. Biden is the only 2020 democratic candidate that has explicitly stated his opposition to federal legalization. While that isn’t ideal, he has stated his support for rescheduling cannabis as a schedule II drug, meaning that more scientific research can be done instead of arrests.
Ready to feel the Bern? Sanders, another leading democratic candidate, offers the most pro-marijuana position of nearly all other candidates. Sanders also sponsored the Marijuana Justice Act which would have removed cannabis from the list included in the Controlled Substances Act, reduce racially-motivated cannabis arrests and stop cannabis possession federal convictions.
Elizabeth Warren has sponsored or endorsed several important reform bills for the cannabis market. Most importantly among them is the STATES Act, which would seek to finally end the prohibition of cannabis on the federal level. However, Warren avoided pledging support for her own home state’s bill to allow adult use of cannabis, so we can’t be certain of her exact policy on the matter.
The former US representative for Texas may be most known for his anti-gun positions, but he’s also very progressive with his proposed policies on marijuana. Beto has been advocating for significant drug reforms for nearly a decade and has been very vocal in his support for federal legalization. In fact, Beto has stated that the issue of cannabis is one of the main reasons for his presidential bid.
Harris is a vocal supporter of major reforms concerning the legal status of cannabis. She is a sponsor of the Marijuana Justice Act and has been quite open about her own experience with cannabis. Furthermore, Harris has introduced the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act that would remove cannabis from the scheduled substances list, stop marijuana-related federal arrests, and even reverse the criminal records of prior offenders. However, it was only a few short years ago that Harris bragged about the volume of drug conviction under her tenure as San Francisco’s District Attorney General when she also scoffed at the idea of legalization.
Like with so many other issues, current-President Donald Trump is sending mixed signals regarding marijuana. He has said that he supports States’ right to determine their policy, which is a plus. However, President Trump also nominated anti-marijuana officials to key positions in government, such as Jeff Sessions, one of the most vocal and well-known opponents of marijuana. Only time will tell whether Donald Trump was serious about his support for individual states determining their policy.