Which 2020 Presidential Candidate Supports Marijuana Legalization?

Which 2020 Presidential Candidate Supports Marijuana Legalization?

As of June 2020, a total of 30 candidates (27 Democrats, 3 Republicans) had dropped out of the race, leaving Donald Trump and Joe Biden as the remaining 2020 presidential candidates for the American people to vote for.

With only 1 opponent to worry about, exactly how will America’s next chief executive win the votes of the American people?

Looking back at some of the hottest issues in the past decade, the War on Drugs waged under the Republican and Democratic administrations resulted not only in the proliferation of support for ending the prohibition and making marijuana legal across 50 states, but also growing voter support.

So, where do Donald Trump and Joe Biden stand on marijuana legalization?

Cannabis Legislation

From 1906, Cannabis (legal term marijuana/marihuana), was restricted for medical, recreational, and industrial use in the United States until the 1920s, where outright prohibitions began.

It was in the mid-1930s where cannabis was regulated as a drug in every state in the United States. Specifically, it was when the first national regulation Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was regulated.

In 1970, cannabis was classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance and is officially outlawed for medical and recreational use with the passage of the CSA or Controlled Substances Act of 1970.

As of January 2019, 33 states in the USA legalized the use of cannabis for medical purposes (with doctor’s recommendations). The recreational use of cannabis is legalized in 11 states in the USA, and 15 states, as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands, have decriminalized cannabis.

Due to its popularity, the commercial distribution of cannabis is allowed in all jurisdictions where cannabis is legalized, except for the District of Columbia and Vermont. Although cannabis use is federally illegal, some of its compounds, Marinol (THC), Syndros (THC), and Epidiolex (cannabidiol) have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for prescription use.

2020 Presidential Race

In the Reagan era, it was obvious how everybody hated marijuana or weed. Ronald Reagan even believed that marijuana was “probably the most dangerous drug in the U.S.”

Even Democratic candidate for the presidency in 1984 Walter Mondale called a “War on (all) Drugs” during his candidacy. It was like every person was a cop back in the days that went on for years. It was so prominent that it led to thousands of arrests yearly for violating the marijuana law.

But everything took a 180-degree turn when medical marijuana is starting to gain traction and attention. It hit the US by storm that even Republicans now are not only supporting it but even push to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Even more surprising, some are legalizing marijuana even for recreational use.

Fast forward to 2020, presidential candidates are now using it as a medium to help their candidacy by showing their prominent support and stands on legalizing marijuana– but not everyone shares the same boat.

The History of the U.S. Presidents and Marijuana

In the Reagan era, it was obvious how everybody hated marijuana or weed. Ronald Reagan even believed that marijuana was “probably the most dangerous drug in the U.S.”

Even Democratic candidate for the presidency in 1984 Walter Mondale called a “War on (all) Drugs” during his candidacy. It was like every person was a cop back in the days that went on for years. It was so prominent that it led to thousands of arrests yearly for violating the marijuana law.

But everything took a 180-degree turn when medical marijuana started to gain traction and attention. It hit the US by storm that even Republicans now are not only supporting it but even push to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Even more surprising, some are legalizing marijuana even for recreational use.

Fast forward to 2020, presidential candidates are using this issue as a medium to help their candidacy by showing their prominent support and stand on legalizing marijuana– but not everyone shares the same boat.

List of 2020 Presidential Candidates

As of March 19, 2020, Gabbard Tulsi dropped out of the Democratic race and endorsed Joe Biden instead, leaving President Donald Trump and Joe Biden as the last 2 candidates for the 2020 US Presidential election.

Where do Donald Trump and Joe Biden stand on marijuana legalization? Have they made any changes on their stand on marijuana legalization since they filed their candidacy?

You’ll find below both candidate’s stand on marijuana legalization and their grades in relationship to this topic. Keep in mind that grades of each candidate is based on current stance on marijuana, past legislative history, past rhetoric, and social media (how they show their support for marijuana).

Note: As of June 1, 2020, the following names were removed from our list after they officially dropped their candidacy.

  • Bennet, Michael (Ended his campaign on February 11, 2020)
  • Buttigieg, Pete (Ended his campaign on March 1, 2020)
  • Delaney, John (Ended his campaign on January 31, 2020)
  • Gabbard, Tulsi (Ended his campaign on March 19, 2020)
  • Klobuchar, Amy (Ended her campaign on March 9, 2020)
  • Patrick, Deval (Ended his campaign on February 12, 2020)
  • Sanders, Bernie (Ended his campaign on April 8, 2020)
  • Steyer, Tom (Ended his campaign on February 29, 2020)
  • Warren, Elizabeth (Ended her campaign on March 5, 2020)
  • Weld, Bill (Ended his campaign on March 18, 2020)
  • Yang, Andrew (Ended his campaign on February 11, 2020)
Candidate Supports Medical Marijuana? Supports Recreational Marijuana?
Biden, Joe Yes No
Trump, Donald Yes No

Biden, Joe

Grade: D-

Which 2020 Presidential Candidate Supports Marijuana Legalization?

Where does he stand?

Senator Joe Biden was among the most active people that backed the war on drugs. It was in the historic context that he spearheaded the Senate Judiciary Committee that wrote many laws resulting in increased rates of incarceration and tougher prison sentences for drug offenders.

He’s so dedicated to this that you’d find Joe Biden’s name in every minor and major drug-related crime bill in the State of Delaware since 1976.

Come 2020 and Joe Biden’s belief in legalizing marijuana has shifted to a certain degree. In May of 2019, Andrew Bates (Biden’s campaign spokesman) told CNN:

Vice President Biden does not believe anyone should be in jail simply for smoking or possessing marijuana. He supports decriminalizing marijuana and automatically expunging prior criminal records for marijuana possession, so those affected don’t have to figure out how to petition for it or pay for a lawyer.

He would allow states to continue to make their own choices regarding legalization and would seek to make it easier to conduct research on marijuana’s positive and negative health impacts by rescheduling it as a schedule 2 drug.

What does he say?

It should be changed to a Schedule II drug. We should move in a direction to make sure it’s not a criminal offense, it’s a civil offense,” he said. “Any conviction at all for marijuana now or in the future or in the past, your record should be wiped clean. It’s not something that is going to send anybody to jail.

What can you do?

Convince Joe Biden to support MORE Act on the House floor, a legislation that would federally decriminalize and deschedule cannabis to allow states to set their own policies. It also focuses on strong social equity provisions with an emphasis on restorative justice for communities most impacted by cannabis prohibition.

Trump, Donald

Grade: D+

Which 2020 Presidential Candidate Supports Marijuana Legalization?

What’s the latest marijuana legalization news for Trump – marijuana?

Although it was clear that he acknowledged the therapeutic benefits of marijuana during his campaign for president in 2015, he still opposes the weed legalization of adult-use of cannabis.

Until now, President Donald Trump has had mixed opinions about marijuana and  hasn’t been direct about whether or not he supports or opposes the use of marijuana. But he did mention in September 2019 that he would leave the legalization decision to the states and that he wants more research on cannabis.

According to Marc Lotter (director of strategic communications for Trump’s 2020 campaign):

I think the president is looking at this from a standpoint of a parent—a parent of a young person—to make sure we keep our kids away from drugs. They need to be kept illegal. That is the federal policy.

What does he say?

“I think it’s bad”, he said after being asked for his thoughts on the legalization of weed for recreational purposes in Colorado… ”and I feel strongly about that.”, he added.

But later in his campaign, he believed that states that will legalize weed by 2020 should be approved without federal interference.

In December 2018, he signed the 2018 Farm Bill, which included provisions to legalize hemp as well as stated that he would “probably” support the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act that allows states to write their own marijuana policies.

What can you do?

Urge President Donal Trump to not only support the legalization of marijuana but also support recreational weed by telling Congress to pass the STATES Act all the way.

Who Dropped their Candidacy? (as of June 1, 2020)

Bennet, Michael (Ended his campaign on February 11, 2020)

Grade: B+

Which 2020 Presidential Candidate Supports Marijuana Legalization?

Where does he stand?

Even though Bennet opposed the 2012 Colorado Amendment 64 legalization bill, he has since become a key factor in legalizing cannabis, as well as hemp.

In fact, he even co-sponsored a number of wide-reaching cannabis reform bills such as the Marijuana Justice Act, which removes marijuana federal schedule and penalizes states that enforce marijuana laws in a discriminatory way. Aside from that, he also backed the STATES Act, that would protect states that legalized marijuana by amending the Controlled Substances Act.

On top of this, he also supported the CARERS Act, which protects medical marijuana states from federal enforcement. The most recent one he co-signed is the 2019 Marijuana Justice Act.

Where does he say?

When it comes to why marijuanas should be legal, Bennet “see hemp as a great opportunity to diversify our farms and manufacture high-margin products for the American people.

What can you do?

Get in touch with Michael Bennet and tell him to support the MORE Act, a legislation that would decriminalize and deschedule cannabis federally so states could make their own cannabis policies.

Delaney, John (Ended his campaign on January 31, 2020)

Grade: C-

Which 2020 Presidential Candidate Supports Marijuana Legalization?

Where does he stand?

Like most of the Democrats running for the 2020 presidential candidate, former U.S. Representative John Delaney would like to also reform the federal marijuana law. Since he announced his campaign, Delaney hasn’t been as open and outspoken about marijuana reform.

But despite the “unsure” gesture he has shown, Delaney has proved himself to be a supporter of cannabis reform during his time as U.S. Representative for Maryland’s 6th congressional district between 2013 to 2019. However, he doesn’t entirely support the use of cannabis for recreational purposes.

Where does he say?

Even though he doesn’t support recreational marijuana, his office claimed he “supports removing marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. This allows states to set their own policy legalization and also regulate policies and taxation on its use.

What can you do?

You can contact John Delaney and urge him to support the SAFE Banking Act! This is a legislation that would prevent federal regulators from punishing financial institutions for providing services to cannabis-related businesses operating in compliance with state laws.

Buttigieg, Pete (Ended his campaign on March 1, 2020)

Grade: B+

Which 2020 Presidential Candidate Supports Marijuana Legalization?

Where does he stand?

Pete isn’t as vocal about where he stands but he has come out in support of marijuana federal legalization.

Although he hasn’t really signed any legislation directly related to marijuana or cannabis, he did approve an ordinance back in 2017 that prohibits the sale of synthetic marijuana, which are dangerous laboratory-produced chemicals that are not from marijuana at all and are not meant for human consumption.

Where does he say?

According to Pete, “the safe, regulated, and legal sale of marijuana is an idea whose time has come for the United States.

What can you do?

Contact Pete Buttigieg and urge him to support the SAFE Banking Act! This legislation prevents federal regulators from punishing financial institutions for providing services to cannabis-related businesses operating in compliance with state laws.

Gabbard, Tulsi (Ended hes campaign on March 19, 2020)

Grade: A+

Which 2020 Presidential Candidate Supports Marijuana Legalization?

Where does she stand?

Since Rep. Gabbard was in Congress in 2013, she’s been regularly pushing major cannabis reform and has been really vocal in her cannabis advocacy. Due to this, she has consistently voted in favor of marijuana amendments on the House floor. Most of these were measured that are aimed at protecting states with legalized medical marijuana and a proposal to protect all marijuana states.

She was very dedicated to her advocate that she introduced the Ending Marijuana Prohibition Act in 2018. This is a landmark bill that would decriminalize marijuana and remove cannabis from being labeled as one of the Controlled Substance Act entirely so states could regulate the substance freely.

Where does she say?

During Gabbard’s presidential campaign launch speech in Honolulu, HI on February 2, 2019:

[The criminal justice system] puts people in prison for smoking marijuana while allowing corporations like Purdue Pharma, who are responsible for the opioid-related deaths of thousands of people, to walk away scot-free with their coffers full.

What can you do?

Contact Tulsi and urge her to support the MORE Act as well, a legislation that’s according to her stand and also contains strong social equity provisions with an emphasis on restorative justice for communities most impacted by cannabis prohibition.

Klobuchar, Amy (Ended her campaign on March 9, 2020)

Grade: C+

Which 2020 Presidential Candidate Supports Marijuana Legalization?

Where does she stand?

Sen. Amy Klobuchar opposed the idea of legalizing marijuana with a D rating from the marijuana advocacy organization NORML during a 1998 debate for Hennepin County attorney.

In 2018, she was also one of the seven other senators in a letter demanding answers on the delay of marijuana research by slowing the approval of applications to grow research-grade cannabis.

But things took a turn now and even showed her full support in legalizing recreational marijuana at the federal level. Even though she didn’t really lead any cannabis reforms, she has backed at least 4 pieces of marijuana-related legislation introduced to her by her colleagues in the Senate.

Where does he say?

When 

I support the legalization of marijuana and believe that states should have the right to determine the best approach to marijuana within their borders,

What can you do?

Contact Amy Klobuchar and urge her to support the STATES Act! This legislation would protect states’ rights to enact their own marijuana policies without federal interference.

Weld, Bill (Ended his campaign on March 18, 2020)

Grade: B+

Which 2020 Presidential Candidate Supports Marijuana Legalization?
Where does he stand? Weld, a former U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts during Ronald Reagan’s administration (responsible for prohibiting marijuana) became the first Republican to announce his support to the legalization of medical marijuana. He even stated he’s been supporting this since 1992. What does he say? In 2016, he backed a recreational marijuana ballot initiative in his home state of Massachusetts. According to Weld, his acceptance of the recreational use of cannabis “represents something of a shift from what my position would have been in the past.” He even added that he was “not absolutely sure” whether recreational marijuana should be legal nationwide at the time. Like Donald Trump, he also signed the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalizes hemp and supports the STATES Act that allows states to write their own marijuana policies. What can you do? Contact Bill Weld and urge him to with to support MORE Act on the House floor, a legislation that would federally decriminalize and deschedule cannabis, thus allowing states to set their own policies. It also contains strong social equity provisions with an emphasis on restorative justice for communities most impacted by cannabis prohibition.

Patrick, Deval (Ended his campaign on February 12, 2020)

Grade: C-

Which 2020 Presidential Candidate Supports Marijuana Legalization?

Where does he stand?

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick wasn’t particularly motivated to legalize or even decriminalize marijuana if elected in the past. Having served two terms as governor in Massachusetts (2007 to 2015), he voiced nothing but opposition to anything that would decriminalize marijuana.

In 2012, Patrick also expressed concerns over Massachusetts’ medical marijuana ballot. This is why the state’s first medical marijuana dispensary didn’t open until he left the office in 2015.

Despite this, Patrick did sign a law that reduced the mandatory-minimum sentence for non-violent drug convictions.

Weeks into his presidential campaign, Patrick did a turn and claimed he supports the legalization of marijuana.

Where does he say?

When asked by a journalist about his stand on why medical marijuanas should be legal and his thoughts on legalizing marijuana (weeks into his presidential campaign):

I am, I don’t think I ever expressed opposition, it just wasn’t high on my own list of priorities.

What can you do?

Contact Patrick Deval and urge him to also support the MORE Act, a legislation that would federally decriminalize and deschedule cannabis, thus allowing states to set their own policies. It also contains strong social equity provisions with an emphasis on restorative justice for communities most impacted by cannabis prohibition.

Sanders, Bernie (Ended his campaign on April 8, 2020)

Grade: A

Which 2020 Presidential Candidate Supports Marijuana Legalization?

Where does he stand?

Sen. Bernie Sanders has fought for full cannabis reform throughout his long political career. He even reiterated his support for full marijuana legalization during his presidential candidate announcement video in this link.

In August 2019, Sanders said on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast that he would legalize marijuana by executive order if elected. Moreover, he also unveiled a criminal justice reform plan that would eradicate past cannabis-related convictions.

20 years prior to that, Sen. Sanders backed a House bill to legalize and regulate marijuana under federal law. Fast forward 2015, he introduced the first-ever Senate bill to end federal cannabis prohibition, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2015, but no other senators backed his bill.

During his campaign for the 2016 presidency, Sen. Sanders became the first major presidential candidate to ever endorse legalization of marijuana.

Sanders believed that the people of the United States have come a long way in the last few years, and he’s going to complete what he started by legalizing marijuana and invest in communities hit hardest by the War on Drugs.

The time is long overdue for us to take marijuana off the federal government’s list of outlawed drugs.

Bernie Sanders, 2015

What does he say?

We will end the destructive war on drugs,” the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, said at a rally in Cedar Rapids. “On my first day in office through executive order, we will legalize marijuana in every state in this country.

What can you do?

Contact Sanders Bernie and urge him to support the SAFE Banking Act as well. This legislation would prevent federal regulators from punishing financial institutions for providing services to cannabis-related businesses operating in compliance with state laws.

Steyer, Tom (Ended his campaign on February 29, 2020)

Grade: C-

Which 2020 Presidential Candidate Supports Marijuana Legalization?

Where does he stand?

Tom Steyer hasn’t been really open about his stand on legalizing marijuana but told The Las Vegas Sun in August 2018 that he supports legalization. Furthermore, he specifically mentioned the importance of clearing up the marijuana banking issue as it kept him from financing cannabis businesses through a community bank he founded.

In January 2020, Steyer also released a criminal justice reform plan that includes the legalization of marijuana and the expunging of prior marijuana convictions.

Where does he say?

Tom was asked about his opinion on legalized marijuana and how he would solve the banking issue:

I’m for legalizing marijuana. I’m from California, we also have legalized marijuana. As long as there is federal deposit insurance and it is illegal according to federal law to sell either medical or recreational marijuana, it’s impossible for a bank to finance marijuana businesses and get federal deposit insurance.

What can you do?

You can contact Tom and urge him to support the SAFE Banking Act, a legislation that would prevent federal regulators from punishing financial institutions for providing services to cannabis-related businesses operating in compliance with state laws.

Warren, Elizabeth (Ended her campaign on March 5, 2020)

Grade: B+

Which 2020 Presidential Candidate Supports Marijuana Legalization?

Where does she stand?

Even though she has never smoked marijuana, she’s likely the most active and the most vocal among the Senators when it comes to cannabis reform supporters in Congress.

She’s very dedicated that she even led and sponsored the STATES Act. This bill allows states to make their own cannabis policies without ever getting any federal interference. On top of that, Warren has also sponsored at least 6 other major marijuana-related legislation.

Warren also confirmed that she would use executive action to remove marijuana from the list of controlled substances, if elected president.

Where does he say?

According to Warren… “It’s not equal justice when a kid with an ounce of pot can get thrown in jail while a bank executive who launders money for a drug cartel can get a bonus. It’s not equal justice when, for the exact same crimes, African Americans are more likely than whites to be arrested, more likely to be charged, more likely to be convicted, and more likely to be sentenced,

What can you do?

You can reach out to Elizabeth Warren and urge her to support the MORE Act, a legislation that would federally decriminalize and deschedule cannabis, thus allowing states to set their own policies. It also contains strong social equity provisions with an emphasis on restorative justice for communities most impacted by cannabis prohibition.

Yang, Andrew (Ended his campaign on February 11, 2020)

Grade: B+

Which 2020 Presidential Candidate Supports Marijuana Legalization?

Where does he stand?

Entrepreneur and businessman Andrew Yang has made legalizing marijuana a major component in his 2020 presidential campaign.

He even claimed that he would support the full legalization of marijuana, expunge federal convictions of offenses related to marijuana use or possession, and reduce punishments of non-violent drug offenders by releasing them early or by offering probation.

Where does he say?

During his fundraising email to his list, he said:  “On my first day as President, I will pardon every person imprisoned for a low-level, non-violent marijuana offense and I would high five them on their way out of jail.

What can you do?

Contact Andrew Yang and urge him to fully support the MORE Act, a legislation that would federally decriminalize and deschedule cannabis, thus allowing states to set their own policies. It also contains strong social equity provisions with an emphasis on restorative justice for communities most impacted by cannabis prohibition.

Dwight K. Blake Written by: Dwight K. Blake

Dwight was a Mental Health counselor at Long Island Psychotherapy & Counseling in Westbury, New York for more than 15 years. He believes that CBD is the prime solution to this mental illness and more-- with proper research, medical acknowledgment, and application.
Through his work at AmericanMarijuana, together with the rest of the team, he wishes to provide everyone with genuine results and high-quality product reviews for everyone to enjoy for free.

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