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Congressional Democrats Tout Marijuana Legalization In Election Campaign Petition



Eight members of Congress are hoping to bolster their reelection campaigns by circulating an online petition that calls for broad federal cannabis reform.

The petition is titled “It’s Past Time: End the Federal Prohibition of Marijuana” and it prompts supporters to add their name “to support the legalization of marijuana at the federal level!”

Election campaigns for Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Julia Brownley (D-CA), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Jim McGovern (D-MA) authorized and contributed to the effort.

“Marijuana criminalization has sent hundreds of thousands of nonviolent offenders to prison, ruining lives and shattering families,” the petition states.

“It’s denied patients access to crucial medication,” it argues. “It’s allowed the Trump administration to threaten a pointless federal crackdown in the states that have already legalized marijuana. It’s wasted billions of dollars in an ill-conceived war on drugs, while forgoing billions more in potential revenue.”

The vast majority of Americans “support ending the prohibition of marijuana,” the petition says. “It’s wasteful, it’s destructive, and it’s simply wrong.”

Though it’s not especially surprising that Democratic lawmakers would leverage their support for legalization—something 75 percent of Democratic voters favor, according to an October 2018 Gallup poll—the number of campaigns teaming up to back the petition is notable.

Typically, such petitions are used to build email lists so that the sponsoring campaigns can contact prospective voters—for turnout and fundraising—as election season draws closer. It’s not exactly clear how the eight campaigns plan to share and utilize data from this petition, though it says, “By signing, you may receive emails from these sponsors updating you on the progress of this campaign and other important projects.”

Marijuana Moment contacted six of the eight sponsoring lawmakers’ teams, but did not receive a response by time of publication.

Huffman’s campaign seems to have taken the lead on the petition. He wrote on Twitter that “criminalizing marijuana simply isn’t working” and that legalization “is good for public health, our economy, and the environment.”

“I support an end to cannabis prohibition,” he said in a second tweet linking to the petition. “The Democratic House voted this month to keep Trump from interfering with state cannabis laws but we need to go further. Add your name in support.”

The conversation around ending federal cannabis prohibition is coming to a head in the 116th Congress, with a House Judiciary subcommittee scheduling a hearing on the issue on Wednesday.

Congress Schedules Hearing To Discuss Ending Marijuana Prohibition

Photo courtesy of Mike Latimer.

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Kyle Jaeger is Marijuana Moment's Sacramento-based managing editor. His work has also appeared in High Times, VICE and attn.


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