Contenders for the 2020 Democratic slot are already showing a common thread: Cannabis should be legalized. Dems are saying that not only should states maintain the laws that their constituents voted for, but that the herb should be legalized at the federal level.
New Jersey Senator Cory Booker introduced the Marijuana Justice Act last August and is confident that it or similar legislation will pass sooner than later. New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand cosponsored the bill on Wednesday, calling the matter a “social justice issue” and “moral issue” that Congress need address. Both Senators are expected to at least consider a presidential run in 2020.
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It’s rumored that Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders will also run again in 2020 as an independent candidate. Sanders would have descheduled cannabis by now if he’d won the office, but time will tell if he gets another shot.
In the meantime, the numbers can’t be denied. Polls abound and though democrats weigh in more heavily on the “legalize it” stance, the majority of Republicans are ready to see cannabis taken off the Schedule I list as well.
To be a Schedule I substance, a drug must have no known medical value and have a high potential for abuse. Aside from the fact that it’s literally called medical marijuana in most legalized states, keeping it in the same category as heroin is simply wrong. Remember, no one has ever died from cannabis toxicity.
On the campaign trail, Trump promised to let state laws alone when it came to cannabis. However, his Attorney General Jeff Sessions is not on board. Sessions rescinded the Obama-era Cole Memo which protected states with cannabis laws in place. This caused anxiety amongst activists, but they weren’t the only ones. Banks shied away and the what was the already legitimized cannabis industry was put back two steps. But not for long. It seems that the harsh, anti-pot rhetoric and actions on Sessions’ part have brought the issue to the forefront, and cannabis is winning.
California Senator Kamala Harris, another presidential hopeful, is an example of a democrat who has come around on the cannabis issue. Whereas in 2014 she openly laughed at the concept of legalization, now she is cosponsoring legislation that would allow banks to work with compliant, state-legal cannabis businesses.
Another potential 2020 challenger, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, is co-sponsoring said banking bill and is also working to broaden medical marijuana policy. Cannabis is certainly not a party issue, but it’s still encouraging to see so many Dems coming out for the herb.