The South Bend Mayor said he smoked marijuana “a handful of times a long time ago” while focusing on how legalization would help veterans.
If you’re a presidential candidate, you might as well admit you smoked marijuana. All the cool ones are doing it. Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris have admitted to it. And we’re pretty sure Beto O’Rourke, a hacker and punk rocker in his past life, and Andrew Yang, who sold marijuana-themed campaign merch, have dabbled, though they haven’t publicly said so.
In this climate, where a super majority of Americans favor marijuana legalization, confessing marijuana use isn’t a big deal. Before Donald Trump, the past three presidents of the United States (Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton) are all on record having smoked marijuana. Virtually every Democratic presidential nominee supports decriminalizing and legalizing cannabis this primary—besides ol’ Uncle Joe Biden, that is—like it’s part of the party’s national platform.
And now, Pete Buttigieg wants to join the Cool Kids table. This week the South Bend Mayor announced he’d smoked marijuana “a handful of times a long time ago” while touring a Las Vegas dispensary. He added that the United States should legalize cannabis nationwide.
“First of all, without legalization, you’re going to continue to see a patchwork of different state laws that create a lot of problems for legitimate businesses like this one,” Buttigieg told FOX News. “We not only need to legalize but we also need to pursue experiments, knowing the racial disparity and lives that have been ruined by sentences over marijuana possession,” he added.
Back in July, Buttigieg unveiled his racial justice plan. Called the Douglass Plan after Frederick Douglass, it called for the decriminalization of all drugs and aggressive expansion of addiction treatment centers. While Sanders told podcast host Joe Rogan he’d legalize marijuana through executive order earlier this year, Buttigieg said to reporters Wednesday he intended to go through official legislative channels.
Buttigieg, a military veteran, also noted how marijuana legalization would help veterans.
“Yeah, so I’ve met a lot of veterans who rely on cannabis for the treatment of diagnosed or undiagnosed issues, often service-connected issues like post-traumatic stress,” he said. “And, another benefit of decriminalization is, it could pave the way for this to be supported.”