Nearly fifteen months remain until the 2020 Presidential election, but the campaign trail's already heating up with more than a dozen Democratic hopefuls striving to unseat President Donald Trump in his bid for re-election. While we get to know the current candidates and their take on issues dear to us, it’s worth considering their respective takes on cannabis and efforts toward its legalization – both Federally and in states across the nation. It’s time to explore the question on all of our minds – who’s for 420 in 2020? We’ve listed twelve top presidential candidates and detailed their reported stances on marijuana below.
Obama-era Vice President Joe Biden has stated that he doesn’t support marijuana’s comprehensive legalization, but Biden is in favor of its decriminalization. He’s also voiced his support of lowering rates of incarceration for drug-related offenses, while shoring up an official plan of action to potentially enact if elected.
Biden caused controversy in the past for penning the 1994 crime bill, which is said to have significantly increased rates of imprisonment around the nation for non-violent drug-related offenses – including the possession of marijuana. Critics of the bill have stated that it especially damaged people of color in communities across the nation.
Colorado Senator Michael Bennet was against Amendment 64 when the measure was originally proposed in 2012. Bennet has since became a central supporter of a 2017 bill, allowing industrial hemp farmers to use and access federally controlled water sources. Bennet and several other senators co-sponsored the STATES Act and Marijuana Justice Act.
New Jersey Senator Cory Booker stands in favor of Federal legalization. He also supports clearing low-level cannabis convictions from criminal records.
Booker is the primary sponsor of the Marijuana Justice Act – which, if enacted, would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and thereby end its Federal prohibition. The Marijuana Justice Act would support a grant for communities disproportionately affected by the war on drugs, and punish states for discriminatory rates of drug policy enforcement.
Bill de Blasio
Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York City, originally spoke out against legalization efforts in his state. However, he worked to lower cannabis-related arrests and incarceration rates in New York. For instance, de Blasio instructed officers to give out summons rather than arrests to those possessing less than 25 grams of cannabis.
Still, critics have pointed out that marijuana arrest rates in New York City were higher under de Blasio’s administration than the days of Mayors Bloomberg and Giuliani.
Tusli Gabbard, United States Representative of Hawaii, has remained steady in her support of cannabis legislation. Gabbard has shown her support of protecting banks that service cannabis-related businesses, guaranteeing fair taxes for cannabis businesses, and removing marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act.
At the national NAACP convention in July, California Senator Kamala Harris voiced her support of legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana. She also called out the industry for capitalizing on marijuana tax income while many Americans remain incarcerated for possession of now-legal quantities.
During her tenure as California’s attorney general, Harris stood against marijuana’s legalization, describing the concept as “flawed public policy.”
Former Governor John Hickenlooper opposed Amendment 64 in 2012, as did current Colorado Senator and presidential hopeful Michael Bennet. Hickenlooper is in favor of removing cannabis from the list of Schedule I substances – the most restrictive category under the Controlled Substances Act. However, Hickenlooper is not in support of nationwide legalization efforts. In a statement to The Colorado Sun, Hickenlooper elaborated that he doesn’t think that the federal government should “come in and tell every state that it should be legal.”
As the Governor of Washington state, Jay Inslee enacted multiple bills which advanced medical marijuana. One allowed medical marijuana patients to purchase plants and seeds. He also granted the right of his citizens to cultivate hemp, and removed hemp from controlled substance lists in Washington prior to its broad-scale Federal legalization under the 2018 Farm Bill.
Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar has voiced her support of marijuana’s legalization. She also co-sponsored the STATES Act with Senator Elizabeth Warren. Klobuchar has supported policies that aimed to expand cannabis research and remove CBD from the umbrella of “marijuana” under United States federal law.
O’Rourke’s campaign supports legalization and clearing criminal records for those previously convicted of marijuana possession. In an official statement, a spokesperson for O’Rourke’s campaign emphasized his commitment to ending federal prohibition.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders co-sponsored a bill in 1995, which aimed to regulate and legalize MMJ. In the decades that followed, Sanders has consistently supported multiple bills in favor of cannabis reform, while speaking adamantly about our need to end America’s “destructive war on drugs.”
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has long maintained her vocal support of marijuana legalization. Warren was the primary sponsor of the STATES Act, which sought to exempt federal cannabis regulations within states where the substance has been decriminalized or legalized.
In the fifteen months of campaigning to come, voters in favor of cannabis reform have many options to consider. In the meantime, 710 Pipes has hundreds of options for cannabis lovers available at our three local smoke shops. We carry all of the products you need, like JUULs and other vaporizers, water pipes, accessories and so much more! Stop by our Northglenn head shop between 8AM-10PM, seven days a week. We have two Denver pipe shops open daily from 12-8PM (11AM-9PM Thursdays through Saturdays) – on Colfax and on Evans near DU. Denver University students get 10% off with a valid student ID!
We’ll see you soon!