News and Trends / Election 2018

Who Are the Pro-Pot Candidates on the Ballot?

Some are for legalization, some are for easing restrictions. All are for changing the status quo.
Who Are the Pro-Pot Candidates on the Ballot?
Image credit: Robin Lynne Gibson | Getty Images
Entrepreneur Staff
Editor in Chief of Green Entrepreneur
5 min read

Election day is less than six weeks away, and candidates across the country are making their final pleas to be tops at the ballot box.

In many of these tight races, cannabis law reforms have become a central issue with some candidates getting behind the plant and others trying to bury it. The National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws (or NORML), a non-profit organization in D.C. that supports the legalization of non-medical marijuana, has studied the records and platforms of political candidates across the nation and come up with a list of endorsements for those "who support NORML-friendly public policy and legislation."

Related: Activists Say the White House Trying to Make Legal Marijuana Scary Is a Sign They're Winning

Here's a cheat sheet:

 

Alaska -- Don Young (R) 

House of Representatives

Young is co-chair of the House Congressional Cannabis Caucus. He supports bi-partisan marijuana law reform and has said that the issue of marijuana legalization in Alaska "is very frankly dear to my heart because I do believe in states' rights and individual rights."

 

California -- Ro Khanna (D)

House of Representatives

Khanna represents district 17 in the heart of Silicon Valley, which unsurprisingly is very pro-marijuana. He wrote on his Facebook page, "Legalizing marijuana is a no brainer! Just look at Colorado. The economic value is astronomical."

 

California -- Barbara Lee (D)

House of Representatives

Lee is the lead sponsor of the Marijuana Justice Act, which would nend federal marijuana prohibition and penalize states that "maintain the unjust and disproportionate targeting of minority communities as a result of state-level criminalization," according to NORML.

 

California -- Ted Lieu (D)

House of Representatives

Lieu is the mastermind behind The Stop Civil Asset Forfeiture Funding for Marijuana Suppression Act, which restricts civil asset forfeiture funds from being used for the Drug Enforcement Agency’s Domestic Cannabis Eradication / Suppression Program. He once tweeted at FOX News host, Tucker Carlson: "Our cannabis is awesome. Come visit my district & I will show you."

Related: 3 Hottest Cannabis Trends in California

 

Colorado -- Jared Polis (D)

Governor

While in Congress, Rep Polis has been "the preeminent champion for ending our nation’s failed federal prohibition on marijuana and an unrelenting force in standing up for Colorado’s legalization and medical marijuana laws," writes NORML. He is running against current Gov. John Hickenlooper who once told CNN that he doesn't rule out recriminalizing recreational marijuana.

 

Hawaii -- Tulsi Gabbard (D)

House of Representatives

Gabbard received the NORML Rufus King Sr. Public Leadership Award for her outstanding public leadership in marijuana law reform. She says, "By removing marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, we can remove the barriers to enterprising small businesses so that they can secure bank loans and insure their businesses."

 

Michigan -- Justin Amash (R)

House of Representatives

Amash co-sponsors the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017. "Under our Constitution, marijuana shouldn’t be federally criminalized," says Amash. 

 

New York -- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D)

House of Representatives

Ocasio-Cortez is a 28-year-old Latina running her first campaign. She supports the federal legalization of cannabis and tweeted: "Legalizing cannabis and addressing those imprisoned by the war on drugs must be part of the same conversation."

Related: New York Officials Urge Banks to Work With Marijuana Industry

 

North Carolina -- Walter Jones (R)

House of Representatives

Jones co-sponsored four cannabis bills, including supporting veterans access to medical cannabis and hemp farming.

 

Ohio -- Dave Joyce (R)

House of Representatives

Rep Joyce believes that the decision to legalize cannabis should rest with the states. "If the people of these states have decided to provide help for those veterans and others suffering from pain and other health issues, we should allow them access without government interference," he says.

 

Oregon - Earl Blumenauer (D)

House of Representatives

"Representative Blumenauer has been supporting sensible marijuana law reform longer than anyone currently serving in the House of Representatives," says NORML. He's been voting to decriminalize and legalize marijuana since the 1970s.

 

Pennsylvania -- Dwight Evans (D)

House of Representatives

Rep Evans is co-sponsor of the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, which removes cannabis and hemp from federal drug scheduling completely. He told the Philadelphia Inquirer that he is "one thousand percent on board" of the legalization of cannabis. 

 

Tennessee -- Steve Cohen (D)

House of Representatives

Despite his state's strict marijuana laws, "Cohen has been a leader in the reform efforts on Capitol Hill by cosponsoring the most robust efforts to end federal prohibition," says NORML.

 

Texas -- Beto O'Rourke (D)

Senate

O'Rourke has received national attention for his contentious battle with sitting Texas Senator Ted Cruz. In a recent debate with Cruz, Beto said, “I want to end the war on drugs and specifically want to end the prohibition on marijuana."

 

Vermont -- Bernie Sanders (I)

Senate

The populist senator from Vermont needs no introduction. Says NORML of Senator Sanders: "He has become one of the most outspoken and visible advocates for ending marijuana prohibition."

 

Virginia - Scott Taylor (R)

House of Representatives

While not in favor of federal legalization of cannabis, Rep Taylor says, “I think we should decriminalize [marijuana] and leave it up to the states."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Javier Hasse
From retailers to growers, producers, and suppliers, there’s a seemingly never-ending list of startup opportunities in this emerging market. In Start Your Own Cannabis Business, marijuana, biotech, and entrepreneurship reporter Javier Hasse introduces forward-thinking entrepreneurs like you to the industry and shares hard-earned tips and success stories from pioneers and visionaries in the marijuana industry.
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