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Update – The State of Pot

The Politics of Cannabis

            Don’t look now, but cannabis has become a hot-button political issue.  With the 2018 Election a few months away, cannabis is getting considerable political attention across the United States. As of March 2018, there are no fewer than 23 different ballot measures in 10 different states that would expand the usage of cannabis. With 64 percent of Americans supporting legalizing the adult use of cannabis (and over 90 percent supporting medical cannabis), total legalization (both state and federal) that has support that goes beyond party identification, gender, class, age, and race.

With the 2018 state primaries around the corner, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws has released its candidate packet. The NORML 2018 Candidate Pack is an impressive collection of polling data, suggested talking points, and information that candidates may use to advocate for marijuana. It also has a link that allows you to submit yourself for political endorsement by one of the largest and most respected cannabis lobbying organizations. Plans are in place for the group to release its endorsements by state in the coming months.

In the US Congress, freshman Representative Thomas Garrett (R-VA) introduced a bill to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, officially empowering states to decide how they would like to regulate cannabis without federal interference. Garrett, a Republican and former prosecutor, represents the evolving opinions on marijuana. While Republicans were often seen as opponents of cannabis in the past, some of the staunchest anti-cannabis-prohibition politicians in Congress like Don Young, and Dana Rohrabacher are members of the GOP. In addition, numerous Democrats have faced criticism for being anti-pot including rising star Joseph Kennedy (MA).

In the US Senate, four bills related to federal cannabis legalization have been introduced in this session. Leafly has created a scorecard for every single senator on these bills as well as created an honor roll of top senators on cannabis legalization. The honor roll includes members of both parties. Neither Washington State Senator made the honor roll.

With Governorships, Senate seats, Congressional seats, and numerous statewide offices up for grabs in 2018, cannabis has been one way for candidates to differentiate themselves from some of their competitors. With legalization an issue both federally and across many states, cannabis will be on the minds of voters as they make their decisions both in primary and general elections. How will the politics of cannabis play out in 2018? Report back to agatedreams.com after the election. Until then – toke on dreamers!

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