Every Democratic candidate for president supports either marijuana legalization or decriminalization. The differences come in the pathways they would choose to get the changes made.
On the Republican side, President Donald Trump has advocated states’ rights on the issue. Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, who is challenging Trump for the Republican nomination, also has supported marijuana legalization since the early 1990s.
Here are where the Democratic candidates stand. This information is taken from Newsweek, CNBC and Business Insider, unless otherwise indicated. Of course, positions change, so it’s important to keep up as the election unfolds and see where your candidate stands.
Biden supports decriminalization of marijuana but stops short of calling for legalization at the federal level. He has said that “nobody should be jailed for smoking pot.” He also has supported allowing states to decide on the issue.
The senator from New Jersey is in support of marijuana legalization, primarily as a social justice issue. He has introduced the Marijuana Justice Act that would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level.
The major of South Bend, Indiana, has never written or voted on any laws regarding marijuana legalization. But he has said that marijuana legalization is an issue he favors, pointing to the votes to legalize at the state level and the many polls indicating support for legalization at the federal level.
Castor has said he supports legalization as well as expunging the criminal records of those convicted for using marijuana.
Delaney has said that the current trend to approve marijuana legalization at the state level should continue and that the federal government “should get out of the way.”
The Hawaii congresswoman is a staunch supporter of legalization and has criticized the federal government for making marijuana illegal while those who make pain medications that have contributed to the opioid epidemic “walk away scot-free with their coffers full.” She has signed onto the Marijuana Justice Act companion bill in the House.
The New York Democrat never sponsored or co-sponsored any legalization measures during her time in the House of Representatives (2007 to 2009), but she now is an advocate for legalization.
Harris opposed making marijuana legal in California in 2010 when she was the attorney general there. However, she is a co-sponsor on the Marijuana Justice Act that would make marijuana legal at the federal level.
As governor of Colorado, he called the legalization of marijuana “reckless.” But he also signed many marijuana bills into law. He now advocates the federal government stay out of the way of states that want to legalize marijuana.
The Washington governor has called for the legalization of marijuana nationally. In his state, he also founded a program to hasten expungement of misdemeanor marijuana possession convictions going back to 1998.
The Minnesota senator is an advocate of states getting to decide whether they want to legalize marijuana. She has backed up the talk with action. She is a sponsor of an act that would protect states that allow marijuana legalization from federal interference.
The mayor of Miramar, Florida, has stated he is for allowing states to decide whether they should allow legal marijuana.
O’Rourke has backed repeal of the federal criminalization of marijuana. He also supported bills as a congressman to end federal interference with states that made marijuana legal.
Bernie has signed onto the Marijuana Justice Act. He supports legalization at the federal level. He also was the first senator to introduce a bill, back in 2015, to end the federal prohibition on marijuana.
The California lawmaker has backed an act allowing marijuana businesses access to banking services. He also has co-sponsored legalization to end the federal prohibition against marijuana.
She supports both the Marijuana Justice Act and a bill protecting states from federal interference. She has said she prefers legalizing at the federal level but will work with Republicans to allows states to legalize one at a time if that is how it must be done.
Author and spiritual leader Williamson supports legalizing marijuana, saying at one campaign stop that the country is “so beyond worrying about marijuana. We are onto something so much bigger than marijuana,” such as painkiller addiction.
Yang supports legalization at the federal level.