The battle to legalize cannabis in the United States has been a long one, but attitudes are changing. While in the past it would be a radical move for a politician to support the legalization of marijuana, it’s now much more accepted. In fact, 62% of Americans now support legalization. With the majority on board, it could be time for a shift that could bring the country not only more freedom but also many economic benefits. Here’s our list of the top 12 politicians that support cannabis reform policies.
#1 – Beto O’Rourke
U.S. Representative, Texas
O’Rourke has previously supported legislation which would decriminalize marijuana usage and keep federal authorities from interfering with medical marijuana operations in legal states. He has a long history of supporting fair treatment of marijuana users, and he even supports expunging criminal records from those who have been convicted of nonviolent marijuana-related offenses.
“Third, we must stop using mandatory minimum sentencing for non-violent drug offenses — a practice that costs taxpayers dearly and destroys lives in the process by locking up people who could safely re-enter society.” – Beto O’Rourke, in the Houston Chronical
#2 – J.B Pritzker
This governor-elect of Illinois has a lot of well laid out plans concerning cannabis that will start going into effect when he takes office in January. His to-do list includes decriminalizing marijuana usage and using the tax money which will be acquired through cannabis legalization to re-invest in communities which were hit hard by the war on drugs.
“It’s time to bring the era of mass incarcerations for minor drug offenses to an end.” – J.B. Pritzker
#3 – Dana Nessel
Attorney General, Michigan
Michigan’s first openly LGBTQ person elected to state office likely owes at least part of her win to her open support of cannabis law reform. Her goal is to bring modern legalization and industry laws to the state of Michigan.
Following in the footsteps of other pro-legalization states like Oregon and California, she hopes that the industry will bring much needed economic growth and tax dollars to the state which will be used to invest in education programs and infrastructure improvements.
“This endorsement is proof that I am the only candidate voters can trust to protect the rights of medical marijuana patients and caregivers, fairly implement the legalization of marijuana in Michigan and fight back against the Trump administration’s overreach.” – Dana Nessel
#4 – Liz Watson
Democratic Nominee, Indiana
While Watson’s stance on recreational cannabis use is unclear, she is working hard to make progress in her home state of Indiana on medical marijuana usage. She believes that her state is ignoring a viable and safe treatment option for patients and that this behavior needs to stop.
“We do not need the federal government restricting study into the medical uses of marijuana, Federal law currently categorizes marijuana as a Schedule 1 narcotic, along with heroin, while oxycodone is Schedule 2. That makes no sense.” – Liz Watson
#5 – Andrew Gillum
Mayor of Tallahassee, Florida
Florida has unfortunately had a disappointing stance on marijuana legalization in the past. In fact, Gillum is the only candidate that’s running for governor of Florida that endorses full legalization. He believes that the current system of criminalizing marijuana usage needs to go, and once Florida finally makes it to full legalization, he wants to invest the influx of tax money from these new industries into Florida’s education budget.
“Legalize it. Tax it. Use the revenue to fix Florida’s public schools and move us up from 29th in the nation to #1.” – Andrew Gillum, on Twitter.
#6 – Corey Booker
U.S. Senator, New Jersey
This U.S. senator has spearheaded many different marijuana policy reforms during his time in office. In 2015, he was one of three senators to introduce the CARERS act which sought to legalize medical marijuana. He also introduced his own bill, the Marijuana Justice Act to end federal cannabis prohibitions and offer incentives to states who choose to legalize it.
“For the rest of your life, it is hard for you to get a job, you can’t get many business licenses, you can’t get a Pell grant, you can’t get food stamps, public housing — we’ve created a caste society in our country, that has affected millions of people, concentrated in certain communities,” – Corey Booker, on the impact of criminalizing marijuana usage.
#7 – Gavin Newsom
California was the first state to legalize medical cannabis, but Gavin Newsom realizes the war is not yet over until it’s legalized at the federal level. While he continues to fight for acceptance of marijuana in California, one of the biggest wars he’s waging on this front is keeping the federal government out of state’s rights. This includes fighting back against attorney general Jeff Sessions attempts to interfere with state’s rights to legalization.
“States rights” is nothing more than a catch phrase to Jeff Sessions. CA overwhelmingly voted to legalize marijuana. Sick and tired of elected officials who lack the courage to stand up for those that are unjustly targeted by the failed war on drugs. The time to speak out is now.” – Gavin Newsom, on Twitter.
#8 – Elizabeth Warren
U.S. Senator, Massachusetts
Warren spoke favorably of the medical marijuana ballot in 2012, and she believes that legalizing medical marijuana is a great way to combat the opioid overdose epidemic. She continues to be a friend to the cannabis industry and to individuals suffering from ailments which could be helped with medical marijuana but are not being offered it as an alternative treatment option.
“Medical marijuana has the potential to mitigate the effects of the opioid crisis.” – Elizabeth Warren
#9 – Jeff Merkley
U.S. Senator, Oregon
Merkley has done a lot to help marijuana businesses to progress, including introducing the Merkley Amendment which would prevent federal prosecutors from going after financial institutions for working with legal cannabis businesses. While this amendment has not yet made it into law, he continues to work on this and other cannabis positive legislation, including one which would legally allow VA doctors to recommend medical marijuana as a treatment to veterans.
“Many in the Capitol say that we should stand up for veterans because they have stood up for us. This amendment provided a real opportunity to stand up for veterans by allowing them to discuss the full range of legal treatment options with their VA providers,”- Jeff Merkley