Cannabis in politics is an incredibly hot topic in 2018. Arguments for and against the cannabis legalization debate have become frequent. In particular voices in favor of legalization are making themselves heard. Legalized cannabis has support from both major political parties, as Gallup suggests a majority of Republicans now support the legalization of cannabis for the first time. One pro-marijuana candidate who hopes to continue to push for the legalization of cannabis is Benjamin Thomas Wolf.
Who Is Benjamin Thomas Wolf
Wolf, a former FBI national security official, is a Democrat running for the House Of Representatives for the 5th Congressional District of Illinois. He moved to Chicago five years ago and now owns a restaurant in Logan Square. Wolf is considered progressive and has gained local notoriety through his anti-assault rifle ads. His biggest advertisement however was one that went viral on social media. The ad pictured Wolf sitting in front of an American flag and holding a lit joint that he was presumably smoking.
Though cannabis is illegal for recreational use in Illinois, Wolf is open about the fact that he has used cannabis for an extended period of time. He claims it helps him to be a more empathetic person. His rationale for legalizing cannabis is simple: “We realize that cannabis can bring billions of dollars to the state, it’s medicine for millions of people around the country, it changes criminal justice reform and personally I think it’s a wonderful recreational substance as well.”
Wolf’s substantive policy ideas include a proposal to spend all state marijuana revenue on public education and drug rehab centers as well as the pardoning of all people incarcerated for minor marijuana-related offenses. These policies are similar to what has been working well in states that have legalized cannabis. As a prime example, Colorado has generated billions of dollars from cannabis tax revenue, which they have spent on improving schools and communities.
Can Wolf Win His Campaign
Wolf is primarying fellow Democrat incumbent Mike Quigley alongside two other primary challengers. The average age in Illinois’ 5th district is only 33. The fact that this district has a young population increases his chances of winning. His progressive and populist policies have a good chance of catching on. No Democrat has filed to run against Quigley yet and the challengers in 2018, including Wolf, have a difficult political challenge ahead of them.
Wolf made news when his joint smoking ad went viral, but it’s his progressive policies regarding cannabis legalization and criminal justice reform that will likely win him support amongst his young constituency. The winner of the Democratic primary, which takes place on March 20th, 2018, will likely take the seat as the 5th district of Illinois – which has been solidly Democratic in the last few presidential and midterm elections.
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.