As of July 2019, 11 states have legalized marijuana for recreational use while 33 states have legalized medical marijuana. Is federal legalization becoming more and more likely? Here’s a look at the 2020 presidential candidates on cannabis so you can educate your vote.
The Democratic caucuses are a few short weeks away and the 2020 elections are on the horizon. Who will represent our America?
Cannabis State of the Union
Marijuana has swept the nation. With only 6 states where it’s still fully illegal to purchase, sell, grow, or consume, marijuana, there’s a potential light at the end of the tunnel for a nationwide acceptance and statutory leniency on criminalization charges.
History of legalization
The tepid history of legalization began in the 1990s with 5 states and D.C. allowing medical use. California was the first state to have a fully comprehensive medical marijuana law.
Currently, the following states have legalized marijuana for retail or for medical use.
President Ronald Reagan’s War on Drugs assisted in establishing federal minimum sentences during his administration. Incarcerations thusly piqued and as the Washington Post reports, “disproportionately, affecting men of color.” As the stigma has faded from the plant, states sought their own solution. By 2010, 9 states legalized marijuana despite federal disfavor.
44 states have legalized marijuana medically or recreationally but there’s still plenty of room for growth. Patients across the amber waves of grain have limited access to remedies, and many still suffer from old, licit sentences from an era rife with the stench of stigmas.
But what the 44 states of legalized marijuana have shown, America remains a land of opportunity.
Who Will Represent Our America?
Current 2020 Presidential Candidates Stance on Cannabis
In alphabetical order, below is the list of presidential candidates, their stance, and plan (if any) for federal legalization and decriminalization.
(Please note: the letter next to the candidates’ name denotes party. This list is updated weekly as some candidates will drop out.)
Michael Bennet (D)
Yes, the Colorado Senator does support federal legalization. However, his past his been vague on recognized support.
Joe Biden (D)
The former VP does not support federal legalization. He’s also reported to have a poor response history on the topic.
Bill de Blasio (D)
The mayor of New York City, Blasio was initially against legalization for the nation. He’s since changed his tune in the similar fashion of his fellow incumbents despite some of his failed policies to reduce cannabis-related arrests.
Cory Booker (D)
Booker actively supports and has supported cannabis legalization.
Steve Bullock (D)
It’s still unclear if Bullock is in favor of federal legalization. His past political affiliations have not shown any indication.
Pete Buttigieg (D)
Yes, the former U.S. Naval Reserve officer backs cannabis for all across America. Although the youngest to run, Buttigieg has not signed any legislation in the past in support of this stance.
Julián Castro (D)
During the Obama Administration, Castro served as the youngest member of President Obama’s Cabinet and is reportedly in support of marijuana as well.
John Delaney (D)
Overall, it’s unclear if the former Maryland representative is in favor of cannabis’s favor.
Tulsi Gabbard (D)
Yes, and sources also say Gabbard has sponsored and cosponsored many cannabis reform bills.
Kirsten Gillibrand (D)
Gillibrand “recently evolved to become one of the most vocal pro-legalization candidates vying for the Democratic nomination.” Furthermore, she’s one of the few candidates with a plan.
Kamala Harris (D)
Sunny state Senator has seemed to come around to the idea of legalization although she’s had a rocky past with the issue.
Jay Inslee (D)
While known more of his climate change advocacy, the Washington Governor has also planned to pardon 3500 marijuana-related convictions. When Washington originally voted to legalize, however, Inslee was against it.
Amy Klobuchar (D)
It’s unclear if Klobuchar has shown any evidence of advocacy, much less any current support.
Wayne Messam (D)
Similarly, Messam has not explicitly or implicitly shown any support.
Seth Moulton (D)
While not one of his primary advertised policies, Moulton has gone on the record to say he would back a plan.
Beto O’Rourke (D)
One of the bigger and long-time representatives of drug reform, sources say voters may be able to bet on “Beto’s” help to create a feasible legalization outline.
Tim Ryan (D)
Ohio’s US Representative Tim Ryan has a reliable record in supporting cannabis and drug reform. In a CNN Op-ed, Ryan also wrote an unabashed call-to-action back in 2018.
Bernie Sanders (I)
Additionally, the Vermont Senator and previous 2016 Democratic incumbent is a longstanding champion for the ongoing national issue. Sanders even stated that having marijuana as a Schedule I drug is “absurd.”
Joe Sestak (D)
Retired Navy Officer, Sestak has not revealed any forthright stance but often votes in favor of protecting states’ rights.
Tom Steyer (D)
Philanthropist, environmentalist, and billionaire, Steyer has yet to relay his exact stance on cannabis.
Donald Trump (R)
Our current Commander and Chief has been more than a little convoluted on the issue. There’s been no clear cut answer on his plan or lack thereof other than that he’s pretty much left it up to the states to decide on their own.
Elizabeth Warren (D)
Warren hasn’t always supported adult-use. In recent years, however, she’s joined several sponsorships.
Bill Weld (R)
The muddled history with Weld shows that he’s not necessarily in favor, especially since he worked with Reagan during the height of the War on Drugs in the 70s.
Marianne Williamson (D)
According to a few comments and Tweets, Williamson has proved to be an ally.
Andrew Yang (D)
Venture for America founder and entrepreneur, Yang has been straightforward on his favorable support of legalization.
The End of the Federal Prohibition of Cannabis
Only 15 states plus the U.S. Virgin Islands have decriminalized cannabis.
The 1970s brought about inaugural research in support of the plant’s potential benefits.
Will 2020 bring out the beginning of the end of cannabis prohibition?
What’s Next for Our America?
We’re named MMJ America because we built our business on the same principles that were championed by the founding fathers: freedom, independence, and democracy. MMJ America is honored to be part of this monumental time in history when we-the-people are burning the fire of freedom.
In a tumultuous political landscape, it can prove difficult to sift through the noise and find a voice who speaks for you and what you believe. When you reach the ballot box next year, you’ll answer the question, who will lead us to a better life together, protect liberty, and our pursuit of happiness? Educate your vote by following us for the latest candidate updates.