It’s beginning to look like marijuana may be a key issue in the 2020 election. As more and more states around the country pass recreational marijuana and many more embrace medical marijuana, voters are waking up to the cannabis movement. With this awakening, some unexpected allies have emerged in the political arena. At the same time, some new adversaries have stepped up to challenge marijuana’s seemingly unstoppable move across the country. These two factions are on a collision course in the upcoming Presidential election, setting up marijuana to be a key issue.
Over the past two years there has been a series of bi-partisan pro-marijuana bills in the United States Congress. Leading the charge for marijuana reform is Presidential hopeful, Democratic Senator from New Jersey, Cory Booker. Senator Booker, with a host of bi-partisan support, including Rand Paul, a Republican Presidential candidate in 2016, has introduced two major cannabis laws in the US Senate. First he introduced the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States Act (CARERS Act). This bill will expand medical cannabis access around the country and promote more cannabis research. Second, the Marijuana Justice Act looks at cannabis legalization as well as mending the damage done by the war on marijuana. The bill even provides incentives for states to fully legalize it. Another Presidential hopeful, Democrat Elizabeth Warren, whose home state of Massachusetts recently passed recreational marijuana, has introduced a marijuana banking bill.
Up the street from Congress at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and on the other side of the political isle from Senators Booker and Warren, there have been mixed messages sent from the President. A recent article by BuzzFeed News reports that a secret Presidential panel on marijuana has launched an attack against legalization. This has activists worried that President Trump may go back on his 2016 Presidential election endorsement of medical marijuana. The Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee has been tasked with looking into the most significant negative effects of legal marijuana. Fourteen agencies and the DEA are tasked with digging up the dirt on legal weed. “Oh, that’s so original. Demonizing weed has never been tried before.” This follows Jeff Sessions resending the Kohl Memo earlier this year, leaving many Republicans, who support pro-marijuana legislation, scratching their heads about where the White House really stands on marijuana.
On the state level, some Presidential campaign battle ground states recently came close to passing adult use marijuana through their legislatures. Both New Hampshire and Illinois came close to passing adult use cannabis this year. Two other East Coast states, Delaware and Connecticut, nearly passed recreational cannabis bills in their legislatures this year. All four of these states are expected to pass legal marijuana by 2020, making marijuana a possible key issue in the lead up to the 2020 election in the Midwest and East Coast.