Marijuana reformers are no longer a fringe group. According to an AP/NORC poll, 61 percent of Americans agree, “the use of marijuana should be made legal”. Representing their constituents, here are some of the politicians who are leading the way in cannabis business industry rights, patient access, and marijuana advocacy.
1Rep. Earl Blumenauer
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) helped make Oregon the first state with marijuana decriminalization. Since then, Blumenauer has attended countless pressers and cannabis industry events in support of liberal cannabis laws throughout the nation. He was also one of the pro-pot debaters at the 2016 Brookings Institution debate on marijuana, held in Washington, D.C.
2Rep. Dana Rohrabacher
Dana Rohrabacher, (R-CA), spoke at the 2016 NORML Lobby Days from the Capitol in Washington, D.C. in May. At the cannabis conference, the longtime cannabis supporter admitted to using a cannabis-infused topical on his shoulder to relieve pain from decades of surfing.
3Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, (D-NY), addresses the National Cannabis Industry Association Business Summit, asking fellow legislators to choose science over ideology in New York City, on Sept. 21, 2015. Gillibrand is a co-sponsor of The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States Act, also known as the CARERS Act.
4Sen. Bernie Sanders
The Independent Vermont Senator, Bernie Sanders, has dropped out of the race for the White House but his liberal views on cannabis have undoubtedly made progress in pushing the political machine toward legalization. He believes in police reforms, eliminating mandatory minimums, and taking cannabis off the Controlled Substances list completely.
5Sen. Rand Paul
The Republican Senator from Kentucky, center, speaks as Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), right, and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), left, look on during a press conference to discuss the CARERS Act, on March 10, 2015 in Washington, D.C. Sen. Paul also introduced legislation that would prevent the federal government from prosecuting medical marijuana users in states where it is legal.
6Rep. Patrick Murphy
Florida Representative Patrick Murphy speaks at the NCIA PAC dinner at Sonoma restaurant in Washington, D.C. in May, 2016. In a past interview with WFOR, Murphy said that marijuana decriminalization “isn’t the big mess that people were predicting. … Being a CPA, I can’t help myself from thinking, from a numbers-and-sense standpoint, about the millions and millions of dollars being spent to incarcerate Americans who had marijuana in their possession. I think there’s probably a better use of those resources.”
7Rep. Jared Polis
Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) speaks to the press about unfair tax and banking laws on the Hill in Washington, D.C. in May, 2016. The NCIA lobby days had hundreds of cannabis industry leaders from all over the country fly into the District, conducting more than 200 meetings with members’ offices regarding 280E tax code and access to banking for state legal cannabis businesses.
8Rep. Chris Van Hollen
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), second from the right, is on board with NCIA’s medical, CBD, and recreational amendments to legislation, but he has not yet co-sponsored the banking and tax bills. He’s a favorite in the Democratic race to take retiring Senator Barbara Mikulski’s (D-MD) seat. Here he is standing with a group of Marylanders representing Jane’s Brew (left), myself, for The Marijuana Times (second from left), and Gail Rand, a patient advocate.
9Sen. Cory Booker
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) speaks during a news conference alongside Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), right, at the Drug Policy Alliance, on March 15, 2015, in New York. The senators met with New York and New Jersey families to announce the endorsement by the Epilepsy Foundation of their CARERS Act. The bipartisan bill will allow patients in states that have legalized medical marijuana to access the treatment without fear of federal prosecution.
10Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama
Spending the afternoon campaigning for Clinton, President Obama and the Democratic presidential candidate are pictured waving following her campaign event at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, N.C., on July 5, 2016. Neither Obama nor Clinton have made huge strides in cannabis reform, however, they have not taken any rights away, either. It is worth noting that during his presidency, Obama ordered his Department of Justice not to go after any state legal marijuana businesses. Clinton has a wait-and-see approach to legalization, calling for individual states with medical marijuana to be “incubators of democracy”.