The coronavirus outbreak is showing the difference between the West Coast and the rest of the country in many different ways, but none has been quite as striking as congressional candidate Amanda Siebe’s decision to grow her own marijuana while isolated at home in Oregon.
It would have seemed shocking not many years ago. Now, it seems “of the moment.” A new generation of potential political leaders have been solidly behind marijuana legalization, especially in the Democratic party’s progressive wing.
Amanda Siebe certainly is solidly from that wing of the party. On her website, she plans to join “The Squad” if elected as the only disabled member of the U.S. House of Representatives. She suffers from chronic pain after being diagnosed in 2012 with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), also known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).
That’s one of the reasons she is pro-marijuana, having used medical marijuana to manage the pain caused by her condition.
Talking Cannabis on Twitter
Many celebrities and politicians have taken to Twitter during the outbreak, but few have talked about themselves growing cannabis and smoking a joint like Siebe has done on her account. She said in an interview that she is simply behaving the way she always does, not trying to create shockwaves.
“For me, it’s part of my everyday life,” Siebe told Marijuana Moment. “It’s not just what I do, it treats my medical condition. Without cannabis, I don’t have any quality of life. I’m to the point where I’m done hiding it.”
She went to say that the United States needs change with its marijuana laws “and the only way we’re going to get it is if we have representatives that stand up and are willing to admit that they do it.”
Marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, despite being legal for recreational use in 11 states and in 33 states for medical use.
Not Worried About Politics
Asked if she was worried her political opponents could use her public use of marijuana against her, Amanda Siebe said she is not concerned. She noted that public support for legalizing marijuana is high in Oregon and across the country. She added: “There’s no reason to hide it. Hiding it makes it look like we’re ashamed and I’m not ashamed.”
The track record so far for publicly using marijuana while running for Congress is not great. Congressional candidates Ben Emard in California and Anthony Clark in Illinois both did so and both failed to unseat incumbent Democrats in their state’s recent primaries.
Still, the cultural shift on politicians using marijuana seems to be underway. Even in the highest level races, such as the presidential primaries, candidates such as Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg had no issue admitting past marijuana use.
That’s not quite at the level of what Siebe is doing, but it is light years beyond the situation 20 to 30 years ago, when candidates would never admit using marijuana at any time in their life.