As the 2020 United States presidential election creeps closer, the policy proposals and views held by each candidate are being placed under the microscope. While it is clear that President Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee, there are a number of candidates for the Democratic nomination. It is important to understand where the most popular of these candidates stand on the issue of American cannabis politics.
Consistent Democratic Candidates Cannabis Views
Due to the sheer number of candidates running for the democratic nomination, there are both similar and conflicting views on the legalization of cannabis being debated. Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, two of the early frontrunners, have both claimed that they would use executive action to reclassify cannabis from its Schedule 1 status. The ramifications of reclassification would be sweeping as research would instantly increase and cannabis would no longer be considered in the same category of danger as deadly drugs like heroin. Sanders also stated that he would expunge all cannabis related criminal charges from peoples records.
Entrepreneur Andrew Yang, who has developed a loyal base of supporters thanks to his many out of the box ideas has taken a strong pro-legalization stance. His website outlines in great detail how a President Yang would tackle the issue of American cannabis politics. On the website Yang states, “We should proceed with full legalization of marijuana and pardon those in jail for non-violent marijuana-related offenses.” He calls cannabis a “safer, less addictive means to manage pain for many Americans.”
Like Yang, Warren, and Sanders, most democrats have made their perspective on the cannabis legalization issue clear. One key political figure whose stance is far more muddled is the man who currently sits in the white house.
Understanding President Trump’s Stance
President Trump’s relationship with the legalization movement could be best described as undefined. Trump made a number of pro-legalization claims during the 2016 campaign, yet reneged after he was elected by appointing staunch anti-cannabis politician Jeff Sessions to be his Attorney General. Though Sessions has since left the position, Trump’s stance on cannabis has not become any clearer.
There have been some positive developments though, including Trump suggesting “he would probably end up signing” the proposed STATES Act that would essentially legalize cannabis throughout the United States by granting power to the states to determine their own cannabis laws. That bill has not yet passed but if it does it will be a true test of Trump’s loyalty to the cannabis legalization movement.
Though the 2020 general election is still more than a year away, it is important to begin examining all of the candidates views on the legalization of cannabis. The issue affects millions of Americans and the cannabis industry has the potential to be a booming business if legislators work diligently to establish regulatory framework. The next 12 months of campaigning will be key for gathering an understanding about what the future of American cannabis politics will look like under the current Republican President or a new Democratic president.
Lane is based in Southern California and is a content curator for Medical Marijuana 411. He focuses his research into finding informative stories that can help medical marijuana patients better understand their diverse medicine.