Candidates on Cannabis
The 2020 Democratic primary election is in full swing and one of the hottest topics this year is weed. More specifically, the legalization of cannabis for all Americans. And as we move through the primaries and get closer to November, potheads everywhere are burning to know where the candidates stand on cannabis legalization.
At Old Pal, we believe knowledge is power, so we created a quick breakdown of each democratic candidate, providing you an extra nugget of insight so you can get out and vote with clarity.
Not only did the Minnesota senator cosponsor Warren’s STATES act, she also supported the Marijuana Effective Drug Studies (MEDS) Act of 2017 to expand cannabis research. With a softer approach to cannabis legalization (and no mention of cannabis legalization on her website), she’s pushing for states to develop and pass their own cannabis policies. "I support the legalization of marijuana and believe that states should have the right to determine the best approach to marijuana within their borders.”
The Vermont senator has been on the weed wagon for a long time, and he’s the only candidate who has a comprehensive executive plan (where other candidates have only stated their stance).
In his current plan (which he aptly released at 4:20pm), he calls for federal legalization within the first 100 days in office via executive action; ending the drug war; expunging past marijuana-related convictions from criminal records; and reinvesting revenue into communities directly impacted by drug policing, including a $20B grant program within the Minority Business Development Agency.
While the Massachusetts senator didn’t support her state’s adult-use cannabis bill in 2016, she has since become a strong pro-cannabis advocate – especially during her 2020 campaign. Along with cannabis legalization and the expunging of past convictions, she has sponsored and endorsed a wide range of cannabis reform bills, including the STATES Act, the leading bill to end federal prohibition. She also said that if Congress could not agree on a new legalization law, she would use executive authority to take weed off the list of illegal drugs.
The former vice president’s opposition to legalization dates back to 1974 and it’s still kind of up in the air whether he really supports real legalization and decriminalization – especially considering he called “marijuana a gateway drug” in 2010. While he used to be an outspoken proponent for the war of drugs, he’s recently pivoted to a more pro-cannabis platform – including a 10-page justice reform proposal that included: decriminalization of cannabis, $20 billion in prevention funds for communities, efforts to reduce racial profiling by police, job training in prisons, ending private prisons, and other ideas.
The entrepreneur and former New York City mayor is the only candidate that remains explicitly opposed to legalization, although he has said he supports putting legalization in the hands of individual states. Perhaps best known for overseeing the expansion of “stop-and-frisk” in New York, he supports decriminalization of low-level possession offenses – but this only came after he announced his Presidential run. “In states where the drug remains illegal, possession shouldn’t lead to arrest. We should find ways for Americans with marijuana convictions to clear their records.”
Even though Mayor Pete never really tackled cannabis in South Bend, he’s recently become a vocal proponent for weed legalization and ending cannabis prohibition. He’s also one of the few candidates in the race to actively pledge to decriminalize possession of all drugs in his first term as President. And he even admitted to toking a “handful of times.”
The hedge fund manager and billionaire philanthropist is somewhat less known than his competitors, but he’s in favor of legalizing weed and scrapping past cannabis convictions. Despite being far less vocal about cannabis than his opponents, Steyer has released a plan calling for legalization of cannabis, expunging prior weed convictions, and ending the drug war.
The Hawaii Representative is on the House Cannabis Caucus and has been endorsed by NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws). The military verteran has also advocated for veterans’ legal access to cannabis. With the help of Alaska Rep. Don Young, she introduced bipartisan bills to remove cannabis from the federal controlled substances list, allowing states to regulate the substance with full authority and end the war on drugs.
One Final Toke
Even though the field has narrowed, you can expect many candidates to continually fine-tune their stance on cannabis legalization, decriminalization, and ending the drug war. More importantly, we want to be clear that Old Pal shows no favoritism to any particular candidate. We do, however, want to provide you with the information to get out and vote based on your ideas and beliefs, because your voice can spark positive change.
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