With dozens of declared candidates able to tackle President Trump in Nov. 2020, America’s aspiring chief executives are scrambling for tactics to catch the eyes of major voters. So why not use cannabis as a sorting system?


(AP, Leafly)

Hashish was once a liberals-only concern, however not anymore. Actually, President Trump’s solely declared major challenger (to date), former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, is an outspoken libertarian and full-throated advocate for legalization.

In contrast, the Democratic frontrunner in the summertime of 2019, former Vice President Joe Biden, established himself as an ardent drug warrior within the 1990s and may’t perceive why so many younger folks right this moment wish to legalize.

We did the analysis. Right here’s what we discovered (in alphabetical order). Vote, donate, and volunteer as your conscience calls for.


Michael Bennet

US senator, Colorado


Though he opposed Colorado’s 2012 legalization invoice, Modification 64, Bennet has since turn out to be a champion of cannabis legalization, in addition to hemp. Most not too long ago, he co-signed the 2019 Marijuana Justice Act.

“We see hemp as an important alternative to variety our farms and manufacture high-margin merchandise for the American folks.” (2018)

Joe Biden

Former vice chairman, former US senator, Delaware


An outspoken proponent of the battle on medication, in addition to the previous chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Joe Biden hasn’t turn out to be way more amenable to cannabis lately; he’s the one 2020 Democratic candidate who stays explicitly against federal legalization. He helps rescheduling cannabis as a Schedule II drug, which might facilitate scientific analysis.

“There’s a distinction between sending somebody to jail for a number of ounces and legalizing it…The punishment ought to match the crime. However I feel legalization is a mistake. I nonetheless imagine [ marijuana] is a gateway drug.” (2010)

Cory Booker

US senator, New Jersey


A longtime critic of the battle on medication and advocate of cannabis reform, Booker raised the bar on cannabis laws this yr when he grew to become the chief sponsor of the progressive and far-reaching Marijuana Justice Act. Till not too long ago, Booker stood just about alone in his help for each legalization and social fairness packages to assist restore the harm accomplished by the battle on medication.

“I imagine too a lot of my younger individuals are being unfairly punished and chewed up by the felony justice system over small quantities of marijuana. Their lives are being severely and adversely affected by the sheer variety of arrests and incarcerations we’re making.  (2013)

Steve Bullock

Governor and former lawyer normal, Montana


Though Bullock has been an outspoken advocate of medical marijuana in Montana and a vocal opponent of rescinding the Cole Memo, he has saved mum on federal legalization; his public feedback recommend that he’s not in favor of leisure cannabis.

“I don’t need limitless develop operations and issues like that. I don’t suppose anyone does…I don’t suppose we wish the persistent ache of ages 19 to 29 be the most important group [of medical cannabis patients].” (2012)

Pete Buttigieg

Mayor, South Bend, Indiana


Though he’s by no means tackled cannabis throughout his time as mayor of South Bend, Buttigieg has turn out to be a vocal proponent of ending cannabis prohibition, and infrequently frames the problem within the context of racial disparities.

“What are we going to do…if we resolve that it really doesn’t make sense to [incarcerate] for unbelievably lengthy quantities of time for non-violent drug offenses, what are we going to do for the folks we already did that to?” (2019)

Julián Castro

Former HUD secretary, former mayor of San Antonio


As not too long ago as 2014, Castro was skeptical of cannabis reform; prior to now couple of years, nonetheless, he has turn out to be essential of the Trump Administration’s interference with state legal guidelines and is seemingly in favor of federal legalization.

“[Rescinding the Cole memo] is a mistake. Colorado and different states have proven we are able to sensibly legalize marijuana with cheap controls.” (2017)

Invoice DeBlasio

Mayor, New York Metropolis


DeBlasio has advocated for lowering cannabis-related arrests since he grew to become mayor of New York Metropolis in 2014; he didn’t come out in favor of adult-use legalization till this previous December, nonetheless, simply two days after Governor Cuomo.

“I’ve been satisfied that we are able to set up a regulatory framework that retains our streets secure, rights the wrongs of the previous, and provides financial alternative to communities hit hardest by the battle on medication.” (2018)

John Delaney

Former US consultant, Maryland


Though he hasn’t sponsored any cannabis laws himself, Consultant Delaney earned a “B” score from NORML for his constant voting document in favor of cannabis reform.

“[The war on drugs] has contributed to a felony justice system the place folks of coloration are disproportionately harmed.” (2018)

Tulsi Gabbard

US consultant, Hawaii


Up to now couple of years Gabbard has sponsored and co-sponsored many cannabis reform payments; a army veteran, she has advocated for veterans’ authorized entry to cannabis. In March 2019, she and Alaska Rep. Don Younger launched the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, which might take away cannabis from the federal managed substances record and permit states to manage the substance with full authority.

“[The criminal justice system] places folks in jail for smoking marijuana whereas permitting companies like Purdue Pharma, who’re liable for the opioid-related deaths of hundreds of individuals, to stroll away scot-free with their coffers full.” (2019)

Kirsten Gillibrand

US senator, New York


Whereas Gillibrand has publicly advocated for medical cannabis since at the very least 2014, she has not too long ago developed to turn out to be one of the vocal pro-legalization candidates vying for the Democratic nomination.

“Sadly, as you’ll hear from my constituents, for many years, the so-called ‘battle on medication’ has not been pursued with equality.” (2018, in a letter to then-AG Periods)

In early June, Gillibrand grew to become one of many few candidates to roll out a full legalization plan. “Legalization is a felony justice concern, a well being care concern, and an financial concern,” she wrote. “It’s previous time to make this occur on the federal degree.”

Kamala Harris

US senator, California; former lawyer normal, California 


Harris has made essentially the most dramatic shift in her cannabis views of any of the 2020 candidates. A number of years in the past she spoke openly about convicting drug sellers in California and overtly scoffed at questions of legalization. She has since turn out to be a sponsor of the Marijuana Justice Act (though it took her some time). Among the many 2020 candidates, she has additionally turn out to be essentially the most open about her personal cannabis use.

“The battle on medication was a failure…It criminalized what’s a public well being matter. It was a battle on poor communities greater than something.” (2017)

John Hickenlooper

Former governor, Colorado


Although Hickenlooper used to think about cannabis a “gateway drug” and publicly opposed Colorado’s legalization efforts, he has since come round to the problem and signed many cannabis reform payments whereas in workplace. Nonetheless, no legalization advocate in Colorado would think about Hickenlooper an ally. He allowed the need of the voters to take impact in 2012, however he didn’t like legalization then and he’s nonetheless not an enormous fan of it now.

“…federal legislation nonetheless says marijuana is an unlawful drug, so don’t get away the Cheetos or goldfish too rapidly.” (2012)

Jay Inslee

Governor, Washington


Like Hickenlooper, Inslee was initially against legalization in his state, however has since turn out to be an advocate of federal cannabis reform, and has championed expunging marijuana misdemeanor costs within the state. Earlier this yr he introduced that he would pardon 3,500 folks with low-level cannabis convictions statewide. Which is greater than Hickenlooper has accomplished.

“As states proceed to legalize medical and leisure marijuana, there’s extra that the federal authorities should to do to supply states with authorized certainty and empower the operation of secure methods throughout the nation.” (2016)

Amy Klobuchar

US senator, Minnesota


Klobuchar addresses cannabis far lower than many of the different candidates on the marketing campaign path. Though she signed on to the STATES Act, she has not supported the Marijuana Justice Act. Shortly earlier than asserting her bid for presidency, she deleted an announcement of help for the state’s medical marijuana program from her web site. However then in February, just a little greater than every week after getting into the presidential race, she stated she now helps adult-use legalization, a full 180-degree pivot from her earlier coverage.

“I help the legalization of marijuana and imagine that states ought to have the correct to find out the most effective method to marijuana inside their borders.”

Wayne Messam

Mayor, Miramar, Florida


Messam, the longest of the lengthy pictures, has not publicly revealed a place on legalization. Little or no is understood about Messam’s stance on cannabis—or some other concern, for that matter, apart from preventing local weather change and the NRA.

“So long as these states that select to take action proceed to implement DUI legal guidelines, unfold financial advantages all through all communities, and expunge information for these arrested for promoting marijuana, they might have my full help as President.” (2019)

Seth Moulton

US consultant, Massachusetts


Though he doesn’t communicate usually about leisure cannabis, Moulton, a army veteran, has spearheaded a number of payments supporting veterans’ entry to medical cannabis.

“We’ve received to carry marijuana out of the shadows and really regulate it.” (2016)

Beto O’Rourke

Former US consultant, Texas


O’Rourke has been advocating for drug reform for a decade, for much longer than lots of the different 2020 contenders. He’s an outspoken advocate of federal legalization.

“We stand a greater likelihood of preserving children from utilizing marijuana whether it is bought by regulated companies as an alternative of by youngsters on road corners and center faculty playgrounds,” (2014)

Tim Ryan

US consultant, Ohio


Ryan has an extended historical past of voting for cannabis reform payments, relationship again to 2003. His latest co-sponsorship of the Marijuana Justice Act is his boldest transfer but. In July 2018, when others had been nonetheless waffling on the problem, Ryan wrote a CNN op-ed calling for full nationwide legalization.

“We’ve ignored the social and financial toll of our marijuana legal guidelines for too lengthy. It’s morally flawed, economically nonsensical, and an pointless pressure on our already strained legislation enforcement officers.” (2018)

Bernie Sanders

US senator, Vermont; Former US consultant and mayor of Burlington, VT


Sanders is likely one of the most pro- cannabis candidates on this record, and he didn’t simply uncover the problem final month. He first pushed for cannabis legalization 20 years in the past, and, throughout the 2016 election, grew to become the primary main social gathering Presidential candidate to help cannabis legalization. He’s presently one of many main sponsors of the Marijuana Justice Act in Congress.

“Proper now, marijuana is listed by the federal authorities as a Schedule I drug—which means that it’s thought-about to be as harmful as heroin. That’s absurd.” (2015)

Eric Swalwell

US consultant, California


Swalwell, a former prosecutor, has earned an “A” score from NORML for his longtime help of cannabis reform. Not like many different 2020 candidates, together with fellow Californian Kamala Harris, he endorsed his state’s adult-use initiative lengthy earlier than it handed.

“Prosecution of marijuana violations clog our already overburdened courts and price lots of of thousands and thousands of {dollars} yearly to implement.” (2016)

Donald Trump

US president, businessman


Trump has despatched blended messages on cannabis over the previous few years. He has stated that the problem ought to be decided by particular person states, but additionally nominated an epically anti- cannabis lawyer normal, Jeff Periods. Trump had points with Periods, however the AG’s weird obsession with cannabis was not one in all them. Trump did nothing to halt Periods’ main transfer on cannabis, rescinding the Cole Memo in early 2018. Lately his administration shot down a collection of payments to facilitate veterans’ entry to cannabis. And the White Home has blocked a invoice that may make it simpler to check using medical cannabis by those self same veterans. In a latest column, Leafly’s Bruce Barcott stated this in regards to the hole between Trump’s phrases and deeds on cannabis points:

Nonetheless questioning what Trump thinks about legalization? Grasp on, let me order a big-ass neon billboard from Apparent Signage & Sons. Right here’s what it says: HE’S AGAINST IT.

“When it comes to marijuana and legalization, I feel that ought to be a state concern, state-by-state. Marijuana is such an enormous factor.” (2015)

Elizabeth Warren

US senator, Massachusetts


Though Warren didn’t help her state’s adult-use cannabis invoice in 2016, she has since developed considerably on the problem; she has sponsored and endorsed a variety of cannabis reform payments, together with the STATES Act, the main invoice to finish federal prohibition.

“Nobody ought to go to jail for a joint. However extra People are arrested for marijuana possession than all violent crimes mixed.” (2018)

William Weld

Former governor, Massachusetts


Weld has had a weird relationship with cannabis. Or possibly he’s simply evolving. He was President Reagan’s man in Massachusetts throughout the top of the battle on medication within the 1980s, however by 2016 he was the Libertarian social gathering’s candidate for vice chairman, operating alongside former cannabis firm government Gary Johnson, on an anti-prohibition platform. He’s now come again to the Republican fold and presently sits on the board of Acreage Holdings with former US Speaker of the Home and longtime cannabis opponent John Boehner.

“I feel [national legalization] is inevitable. I don’t suppose any politician goes to have the ability to cease it.” (2018)

Marianne Williamson



Williamson has not made cannabis a central ingredient of her marketing campaign, however has iterated her help of legalization and the necessity of a crackdown on the opioid epidemic.

“If marijuana had been authorized, it will be extra of a managed substance…not much less.” (2013)

Andrew Yang



Yang has been express about his pro-legalization views since leaping into the marketing campaign; not too long ago, nonetheless, he needed to stroll again a promise to pardon all non-violent drug offenders on 4/20 to solely embrace people convicted of violating federal marijuana legal guidelines.

“Our criminalization of marijuana is silly and racist, notably now that it’s authorized in some states.” (2018)