We’re gearing up for silly political season again, with the first presidential caucus for the general election happening in Iowa on Monday, February 3rd. While there’s many issues likely to sway voter’s favor and cannabis legalization isn’t necessarily the top priority, pro-pot voters will at least want to know where the candidates stand.
Cannabis Legalization is a Bi-Partisan Issue
There’s a myth out there that only Democrats favor marijuana legalization. That’s just not the case anymore. The National Opinion Research Center (NORC) shows that marijuana legalization has growing public support for Democrats, Independents, and Republicans. Dems lead Pubs by a 27% margin, but the overall spread still pulls the average higher than 50%.
This is one thing to keep in mind about politics and pot. Money speaks much louder than anything else. The cannabis industry has generated three things that all politicians love: tax revenue, stock market performance, and new jobs. The states that have fully legalized are practically flaunting their profits, while nearby states look on enviously. Any candidate that comes out against legalization in this climate risks loses voters.
For the record, incumbent president Trump has waffled on cannabis legalization, but hasn’t taken a hard line against it. Most often, his attitude seems to be “hands off” and let the states decide. Let’s just say that there seems to be bigger things on his mind lately. On the campaign trail, he’s not likely to come out against marijuana and may even take a stance favoring legalization.
Former vice president Joe Biden has taken the most conservative position on marijuana among Democratic candidates, favoring only decriminalization. Biden has controversially conflated marijuana with the “gateway drug” fallacy before. At the least, he favors decriminalizing on the Federal level and bumping it down a notch on the DEA Controlled Substance List. He has no other plans for marijuana legalization and has expressed hesitancy to go farther.
The Hoosier mayor candidate has uttered strong favor towards marijuana legalization on several fronts. Part of his “Douglass Plan” is the removal of criminal penalties for marijuana charges. He has told the Boston Globe, “The safe, regulated, and legal sale of marijuana is an idea whose time has come for the United States, as evidenced by voters demanding legalization in states across the country.” In addition, he has expressed sympathy for struggling medical marijuana patients, and even said he’s tried it himself “a handful of times.”
Senator Warren has expressed disfavor to cannabis legalization in the past, but has warmed to it in recent years. In 2011 at a debate she was in favor of medical marijuana but not recreational. However, by 2019 she’s come around to general legalization. She also wrote president Trump urging him to reinstate the Cole Memo, which had been struck down by then-AG Jeff Sessions. She also headlined the STATES Act. Warren started becoming more vocal about legalizing marijuana at the beginning of her presidential campaign.
The Vermont senator has been vocal on full marijuana legalization. At his own website, he has a long article about his plan for legalizing, while he has also raised marijuana legalization as an issue along with a bundle of others. While it’s true that he has the most detailed plan outlined, and the greatest ambition for sweeping reform out of all the candidates, there is some question as to how actionable and realistic his plans are. Be that as it may, the Senator has an excellent decades-long record of supporting legislation for legalization wherever he can on Capitol Hill, so he’s securely on the stoner’s side.
The Minnesota Midwestern Senator has expressed vague support for cannabis legalization in the present, but has shown a reverse stance before. In her previous term as a County Attorney, she took the kind of “tough on crime” stance one would expect of that office, which included heavy sentences for drug penalties. Recently she has co-sponsored the STATES Act but would not sign on for the Marijuana Justice Act.
These are the major candidates polling close to the 10% mark. We’re not out to steer readers in any particular direction; we’re just putting up the links for public information. We would like to ask, given this is a political post, that we all keep our discussion civil in the comments below or in our forum.