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Democratic Candidate’s Stance on Marijuana

It’s that time in the United States again! The 2020 Presidential Election seems like just a stone’s throw away. This year there is not just a few Democrats running, but an entire slew of them. With some old and new faces, Dems around the country will have their pick of choices. They’ll be able to whittle down their choices to a few key issues.

With that being said, where do this year’s Democratic candidates stand on the issue of marijuana? Will Trump make any moves towards legalization if he gets reelected? And how important is this issue to the country?

Issues of Legalizing Marijuana

While marijuana remains illegal in any form at the federal level, individual statesLegalize marijuana? have enacted their own legislation. The fact that these laws often go so boldly against the laws of the country has many divided on the issue.

Some states such as Idaho, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas have completely banned THC or CBD in any form. Other states such as Oklahoma, Illinois, Arizona, and Montana have legalized medical marijuana, but not recreational. Still other states, such as California and Colorado, have completely reformed marijuana legislation. These states have legalized both medical and recreational marijuana.

The fact there are such broad views of marijuana throughout the country is exactly why the country is so divided. Federal legislation may perhaps ease some of the division, if marijuana in all forms was legal across the nation. But, is that a possibility with this year’s Democratic candidates? What if Trump gets reelected?

Trump’s Stance

Historically, Trump has been very critical of legalizing marijuana. He called what happened in Colorado “a terrible thing” and that it wasn’t good legislation at all. Later on in the campaign trail however, he changed his stance slightly. He agreed that states should be allowed to legalize medical marijuana. He didn’t change his views on recreational marijuana. Since that time, he’s been a supporter on many occasions regarding medical marijuana.

He hasn’t though, said whether or not he was going to make a move for medical marijuana in federal legislation. Most likely, he’s not going to. The most he’s going to do is create legislation that keeps the Department of Justice from interfering when individual states decide to legalize.

This is in keeping with the way the Obama administration ran, as well. While Obama was also against legalizing many forms of marijuana, he did not allow the DOJ to interfere in any way. Jeff Sessions briefly overturned this law, although Trump has brought it back.

With Trump being a loyal Republican, this is likely where marijuana legislation will remain if Trump gets re-elected. But what do the Democrats have to say about it?

Intro Into the Democratic Candidates

The candidates in the 2020 election have already made many stands. The group holds the title of having the most women candidates than ever before. As the the Democrats, they’ve been called the most diverse group of candidates. So, who are they? And where do they stand on marijuana legislation?

Amy Klobuchar
Amy Klobuchar Amy Klobuchar

This is one Democrat who’s views on marijuana are as muddled as Trump’s. She signed the “Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States [STATES] Act,” which also prevents the federal government from meddling in the legislation of other states. However, she hasn’t signed onto the Marijuana Justice Act, which removes marijuana from Schedule I int he Federal Controlled Substances Act. This suggests she has no interest in legalizing it. But, to further confuse things, she’s always promoted further research into the drug.

Andrew Yang

One of the lesser-known Democrats, Andrew Yang’s home state of New York has already legalized medical marijuana and are making moves to legalize recreational as well. He is for full legalization and has called the prohibition “stupid and racist.”

Bernie Sanders
Bernie Saunders Bernie Saunders

If there’s one Democrat that is pro-pot, it’s Bernie Sanders. He has been the most vocal about legalizing marijuana and has already backed many reform bills. He wants to completely legalize the drug, and end cannabis prohibition. He wants it fully removed from all schedules listed in the Controlled Substances Act. The drug is already fully legalized in his home state of Vermont.

Cory Booker
Corey Booker Corey Booker

One of the more progressive candidates in the Democratic party, his home state of New York is currently pushing for more marijuana legislation. He has already authored the Marijuana Reform Act and has argued to expunge or reduce sentences for those currently serving time on marijuana charges.

Elizabeth Warren

Another vocal advocate for marijuana legalization, Elizabeth Warren is one of the lead sponsors of the STATES Act. This also protects states from federal intervention should they choose to legalize certain aspects pertaining to legalize the drug. She’s also signed many marijuana reform bills.

Jay Inslee

Coming from one of the most marijuana-friendly states in the nation, Jay Inslee is not surprisingly an advocate for legalizing marijuana. As governor of Washington, he’s already expunged thousands of records. He’s also criticised Jeff Sessions’ attempt to allow the federal government to interfere with states that have legalized it.

Julian Castro

Julian Castro comes from Florida, a state that has only legalized medical marijuana. Still, he’s been quite vocal about partial legislation making marijuana legal. He’s also spoken out about criminal charges for recreational marijuana crimes.

Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris comes from California, one of the most progressive states when it comes to both medical and recreational marijuana. However, she hasn’t always been pro-legalization. It wasn’t until 2015 when she spoke in favour of medical marijuana, but still seems hesitant to venture into the recreational arena.

Kamala Harris Kamala Harris
Kristen Gillibrand

Kristen Gilibrand is another Democrat candidate that has spoken out in the past about the racists and unfair nature of marijuana prohibition. She’s signed several pieces of legislation including Cory Booker’s Marijuana Justice Act.

Pete Buttigieg

Pete Buttigieg is not a well-known name among the Democratic candidates, and his views on legalizing marijuana are just as lesser-known. A representative from his mayor’s office states that he is pro-legalization. However, his home state of Indiana is very conservative and against legalizing the drug.

Tulsi Gabbard

Tusli Gabbard may be most well-known for her views on Assad, but she should also be known for her progressive views on marijuana legislation. She was the lead sponsor on a bill requiring the federal government to examine the effects of marijuana legalization on a state level. She’s also been very vocal about decriminalizing the drug on a federal level and criticised Jeff Sessions’ move to allow the government to interfere with legalization.


Currently, there are more Democrats in the 2020 election than there have been Cannabis demonstration outside White Housefor the past several years. Most of them seem to be in favour, at least partly, of marijuana legalization, but they certainly take it to different extents. Clearly, if a Democrat is elected, the United States will see marijuana legalization in some form. If the Republicans win again though, that is much more doubtful as these candidates mostly stand firmly rooted in their belief that it would be bad for the nation.


MSNL Team MSNL Team / 16th April 2019

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