Right now, a lot of the country is divided on the issue of cannabis legalization. While many legislators are fighting tirelessly to see some sort of change on a federal level, others are completely against it. It’s essential to have a good grasp on those who want to forward this marijuana movement and those who do not.
Below, we listed some of the top legislators who are pro and against cannabis legalization to let you know where these politicians stand.
The country is currently divided between those in favor of cannabis legalization and those opposed. Some of the biggest opposers, unfortunately, are powerful politicians.
Four of the prominent legislators who support cannabis legalization are Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Kamala Harris, Don Young, and Bernie Sanders.
However, politicians like Mitch McConnell and Mike Crapo strongly oppose cannabis legalization, keeping progress from moving forward.
Even the current president has been wishy-washy on cannabis legalization, seemingly sweeping the issue under the rug for now.
Legislators Who Are Pro-Cannabis
As cannabis legalization continues to surge across the country, we have hard working individuals like these to thank for the political progress we’ve made. Here are some legislators that have been open and honest about their support of this medicinal plant.
1. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
One of the most outspoken politicians on cannabis legalization is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. AOC is one of the youngest members of the legislature, but that hasn’t stopped her from being passionate about issues like cannabis reform.
AOC has made public statements about ending the War on Drugs, and that federal cannabis legalization would be the most significant first step towards doing so. In general, AOC believes both in the federal legalization of cannabis and federal decriminalization of drug consumption. The powerhouse hopes to make a profound change within the world of cannabis over these next few years, and we’re sure she will.
2. Kamala Harris
The country’s newest Vice President—and first-ever Black female VP—is another politician who has shown clear support for cannabis legalization. It is important to recognize that Harris hasn’t always been on this side of the fence, with her past as a prosecutor a bit controversial, especially in terms of cannabis-related crimes. However, over the years, Harris seems to have turned a new leaf, as she is now one of the biggest sponsors of the most revolutionary cannabis bill the country has seen yet.
The MORE Act was introduced back in 2019, but it has since evolved and made waves across Senate and House floors. The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (MORE) calls for the declassification of cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug, as well as the expungement of low-level cannabis-related crimes. With Harris strongly backing this Act, the bill has made it further than anybody thought possible. While, in its current state, the Act is likely not to be passed through the Senate, the progress is still remarkable.
3. Don Young
Another considerable proponent of cannabis legalization is Alaska’s state representative, Don Young. Young has been representing Alaska’s state for 25 terms now, being one of the longest-serving Republicans in Congress history. This republican has also been a long-time supporter of safe, legal cannabis consumption.
As the Congressional Cannabis Caucus’s Co-Chair, Young helped pass an incredible, landmark cannabis-related act called the SAFE Banking Act. The Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act provides protection and legal rights for cannabis businesses that have struggled to receive the same treatment as other companies prior. Now, thanks to Young and other open-minded legislators, this public safety bill is going far.
4. Bernie Sanders
Finally, we all know Mr. Bernie Sanders from Vermont is more than willing to fight for this country’s cannabis rights. When running for President both in 2016 and 2020, Sanders promised to legalize cannabis federally within his first 100 days in office, making it a priority to help curb the War on Drugs.
Though he didn’t get the presidential nomination, Sanders’s passion was and is not forgotten. Today, he uses his position in Congress to continue to advocate for cannabis reform, equality, and legalization.
Legislators Who Are Anti-Cannabis
Of course, not all legislators are pro-cannabis. These are some of the most prominent politicians concerned with the legalization and progression of cannabis use in the US.
1. Mitch McConnell
One of the country’s largest opposers to legal cannabis use is Senator Mitch McConnell. For years, McConnell has been outspoken about his thoughts on cannabis legalization, most recently applauding a COVID-19 relief bill that ignored the needs of cannabis companies.
The Senator has long opposed cannabis legalization in any capacity, being one of the most significant political figures standing in the way of progress. As it stands, McConnell is currently the largest blockade the country faces in terms of passing acts like the MORE and SAFE Banking Act: he just won’t change his mind.
2. Mike Crapo
While many states have started moving forward with their cannabis laws and regulations, one of the biggest states to stay behind is Idaho. Mike Crapo, Idaho’s senator, has been proudly open about his opinions on cannabis and that his home state will, undoubtedly, not be seeing the legalization of the plant any time soon.
Unfortunately, these opinions also have crossed over into the Senate, with Crapo now vastly opposing the landmark SAFE Banking Act. The man believes the Act does not address the bigger “issues” of cannabis legalization, like high-THC products and underage consumption. Thus, his opposition stands in the way of progress.
3. Joe Biden
We know this one might be a bit controversial, but it’s important to discuss. In the past, current President and former Vice President Joe Biden has been outspoken about his hesitancies surrounding cannabis legalization. Over the years, this opinion has seemed to shift, claiming to support legalization during his presidential campaign.
Unfortunately, this appears to be all talk thus far. Despite these promises during the race, no progress or even speak of progress has been made since the election, and cannabis-related bills keep getting swept under the rug. While there is a good chance this will change, his past demonstrates that President Biden may not support cannabis justice as he recently started claiming. We will just have to wait and see.