It has been slow for sure, but it seems that with every passing year, there are more political figures standing in support of marijuana legalization. Tuesday’s primary elections show that this platform is no longer just something embraced by deadbeat alternative parties that stand no chance of ever making it into office. More Democratic gubernatorial candidates are getting behind the movement to drag weed out of the underground and give it legitimacy in the realm of American commerce. Two of the recent gubernatorial primary victories gave way to the possibility of states being run by pro-cannabis leaders. Other candidates are still dipping their toes in the water.
In Colorado, which was one of the first states to legalize the leaf for recreational use, the voters supported U.S. Representative Jared Polis at the polls. The congressman, who has represented the state’s 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House for almost the past decade, has made it one of his missions to stand up for marijuana legalization on Capitol Hill. He has criticized the anti-pot decisions of current governor John Hickenlooper and if elected as governor, he says he plans to continue that fight at the state level.
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The cannabis advocacy group NORML, which endorsed Polis earlier this year, is pleased with the outcome of the election.
“The results from the Democratic Gubernatorial Primary are not just a victory for Jared Polis and supporters of sensible marijuana policy, they are a victory for anyone who believes that our prohibition on marijuana was a failure and that states should be free to set their own policies when it comes to cannabis, free from federal incursion,” NORML PAC Executive Director Erik Altieri said in a statement.
“Jared Polis has been the preeminent champion for ending our nation’s failed federal prohibition on marijuana while in Congress and an unrelenting force in standing up for Colorado’s legalization and medical marijuana laws. Just as he has always stood and fought by our side against federal prohibition, we will continue to fight for Jared Polis until he takes his rightful place in the governor’s mansion.”
In Maryland, former NAACP leader Ben Jealous won the Democratic primary for governor. The candidate, who supports full-blown legalization, said during a campaign debate that he smoked marijuana with comedian Dave Chappelle, according to the Baltimore Sun. In fact, the infamous comedian is the person credited with getting Jealous to change his tune on weed and support the concept of ending prohibition.
“To end the era of mass incarceration, we need to finally legalize marijuana for adult use,” Jealous said in a Twitter post, adding, “It’s time that we confront the racial and economic injustices that result from disproportionate enforcement and make our communities safer at the same time.”
In other states, including Oklahoma and South Carolina, the cannabis stances of the Democratic and Republican victors fell somewhere between decriminalization and it’s a “bad idea.”