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How their cannabis policy is a good barometer for presidential candidates

Almost all the democratic presidential candidates for the year 2020 agree with the legalization of marijuana at the federal level. So far, ten States have legalized marijuana for recreational use. Many other states are prepared to legalize marijuana as well. Following the changes in people's views, over 60% of Americans think that marijuana should be legalized. Democrats were in favor of legal marijuana out of a poll of 2348 Americans in 2018.

The removal of marijuana from the federal list of banned substances will cause a great impact on the cannabis industry. Presidential candidates also support plans to remove charges for people who have been prosecuted for marijuana use. Some opponents of legal marijuana say that it would open room for the substance to be abused by many people since it would be too accessible. Supporters of the legalization of marijuana state that it will allow revenue for the government from the taxation of the drug.

A bill was reintroduced in February by Senator Cory Booker from New Jersey. The bill was proposed to legalize marijuana across the nation, expunge convictions and allow those facing jail time to petition the court for a shorter sentence. The Marijuana Justice Act was introduced in 2017, but it was not voted on. Other presidential candidates such as Senator Kirsten Gillibrand from New York and Senator Kamala Harris from California among others have co-sponsored the bill.

Senator Sanders is another supporter of marijuana legalization. He introduced the first bill to make marijuana legal on the federal level in 2015. Also, Ohio representative Tim Ryan and Hawaii representative Tulsi Gabbard are candidates in the race for president. Both men signed the Marijuana Justice Act. Even though there is much support in the Democratic bench for the bill, the bill has faced many challenges to get pass the Senate.


This is due to the fact that Republicans control the Senate with a 53-47 lead while Democrats have a majority in the House. The Senate Majority leader, Mitch McConnell stated last year that he does not plan to endorse marijuana legalization. The Marijuana Justice Act is the most recent bill, but there are others.

Washington is one of the first to legalize marijuana for recreational use. In January, Jay Inslee stated that plans would be made to pardon many people with charges for marijuana. Warren sponsored the STATES Act. This Act has prospects to allow the local government to regulate their marijuana use for states that have already legalized marijuana. Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota Senator, said in a Washington Post that she is a supporter of legal marijuana. She is also a co-sponsor of the STATES Act. Eric Swalwell, the California representative, is a co-sponsor of the Act to end the prohibition on marijuana on a federal level.

Also, Andrew Yang is a presidential candidate with no experience. Despite his inexperience in politics, he believes that there should be federal legalization of marijuana.

John Hickenlooper, the former Colorado government member at first, rejected the decision of the state to legalize marijuana. He even went as far as to call the decision of legalization, 'reckless.'

Following that, he has since signed many cannabis billiards as law, but he still does not agree with ending federal prohibition of marijuana.
Similarly, Kirsten Gillibrand was a non-supported at first, but her views have changed over the years. She has been an advocate for marijuana legalization on twitter, a social media platform. Senator Kirsten has been gone further to propose using the funds from marijuana to invest in communities that were drastically impacted by the War on drugs.


However, former vice president, Joe Biden is the exception. Joe Biden, as a democrat presidential candidate, does not have a cannabis policy on his website. He is also known to to be against legalization of marijuana. In the past, he has even called the legalization of marijuana, a gateway drug.


Although Joe Biden has stated that he is in favor of the decriminalization of marijuana, the enforcement of marijuana laws would be relaxed, but marijuana will remain illegal. His other democratic colleagues are beyond decriminalization. If marijuana is legalized, then it can be taxed like other substances such as alcohol. The proceeds can be used to develop the nation. The cannabis industry would boom even more if cannabis is legalized at the federal level. More businessmen would be willing to invest in cannabis businesses such as cannabis dispensaries and grow operations without being hesitant. The cannabis industry has the potential to provide many cannabis jobs. The unemployment rate will decrease.

Many of the candidates are using the cannabis policy as a strategy to secure the election for the presidency. Therefore, it will come down to which presidential candidate has the best cannabis policy. Finally, the use of marijuana policies is indeed a good strategy for presidential candidates, but many of these candidates are passionate about the legalization of marijuana for reasons other than their candidacy.

This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes.

By Sheena Jordan
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