Connect with us

Politics

Early Presidential Primary State Voters Oppose Federal Intervention In Local Marijuana Laws, Poll Shows

Published

on

A majority of likely Democratic voters in the first three presidential primary states—Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina—feel that states, rather than the federal government, should be responsible for regulating medical and recreational marijuana.

That finding comes from a recent survey conducted by the public affairs firm Firehouse Strategies and the data analytics group 0ptimus, which was shared exclusively with Marijuana Moment. The survey asked roughly 1,700 voters in the early-voting states about their cannabis regulatory preferences.

“Do you believe the regulation of medicinal and recreational marijuana should be controlled by the federal government or remain in the control of individual states?” the survey asked.

Form the northeast to the midwest to the deep south, the results were consistent: likely Democratic primary voters in all three states indicated that they overwhelmingly favor a state-based regulatory model, as opposed to having the federal government take control.

Via Firehouse Strategies.

Sixty-two percent of likely primary voters in Iowa said states should regulate cannabis, compared to 34 percent who preferred federal regulation. In New Hampshire, 69 percent of respondents favored local control, with 26 percent favoring federal control. And in South Carolina, 60 percent said states should regulate the marijuana market and 35 percent said the feds should be in charge.

As the field of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates continues to grow, the results indicate that the contenders ought to “promote states’ rights to set their own cannabis laws,” Alex Conant, a partner at Firehouse Strategies, told Marijuana Moment.

“Since so many members of Congress are running for president, this could give further momentum to bipartisan legislation recognizing states’ laws,” Conant, who previously served as communications director for Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said.

Nearly every major Democratic candidate vying for the party’s 2020 presidential nomination has endorsed legalizing cannabis—with a major notable exception in former Vice President Joe Biden.

(Rubio, for what it is worth, was one of a small handful of 2016 presidential candidates who said he would not have respected the right of states to set their own marijuana laws if elected.)

The survey, which polled Democrats who voted in the 2016 or 2018 Democratic primaries, showed strong support for state-level regulation of the legal cannabis industry—a result that stood out to Conant.

“Typically Democrats want strong federal laws to advance new rights (e.g., abortion or gay marriage), but so far that’s not the case with cannabis,” he said. “Most Democratic voters don’t want to see the federal government intervene here.”

Also of note is the majority support for regulating marijuana at the state level in South Carolina, home of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), chair of the influential Senate Judiciary Committee. Considering the critical role the senator plays in advancing—or blocking—cannabis reform through his chairmanship, Conant said he “could have an opportunity to appeal to some Democratic voters if he takes a strong stance on allowing states to regulate cannabis use.”

Bipartisan legislation such as the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act represents one legislative option to that end.

Read the full polling memo on early state voters views on marijuana below:

Primary State Marijuana Poll by on Scribd

Seven-In-Ten Americans Want Federal Marijuana Convictions Automatically Sealed, Survey Finds

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.

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

Politics

Beto O’Rourke Proposes Drug War Reparations Funded By Marijuana Taxes

Published

on

Marijuana would not only be legalized under a plan proposed on Thursday by Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, but cannabis tax revenue would be used to directly repay formerly incarcerated people through a new “Drug War Justice Grant” program.

Unlike other contenders who have come around to supporting marijuana legalization in just the past couple of years, the former Texas congressman has long called for ending prohibition—and his new plan in many respects goes further than those rolled out by other campaigns.

Please visit Forbes to read the rest of this piece.

(Marijuana Moment’s editor provides some content to Forbes via a temporary exclusive publishing license arrangement.)

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
Continue Reading

Politics

Support Grows For Marijuana Legalization Bill In Colombia

Published

on

Colombia’s legislature will soon take up a bill to legalize and regulate the production and consumption of marijuana for adults.

The legislation, which is being filed by Sen. Gustavo Bolivar of the opposition Colombia Humana party, seeks to end prohibition as a means of curtailing crime and supporting a public health-focused approach to drug policy.

Bolivar, an author who has written several books centered on drug trafficking, has characterized the bill as being about “regularization, not legalization,” but it would provide for legal sales to adults with restrictions similar to those imposed for tobacco and alcohol. There would be penalties for selling to underage individuals and smoking wouldn’t be permitted in public spaces.

The senator pointed to Uruguay, Canada and states in the U.S. as regulatory models for legalization.

“It has been proven that crime levels are lowered and public health is improved,” he said, according to Colombia Reports.

Sen. Alberto Castilla Salazar of the leftist Polo Democrático party said that his coalition supports the reform measure.

“Colombia must overcome prohibitionism and break the ties of illegal groups with the control of cannabis, so that it is the State that regulates, defines the forms and understands consumption as a public health problem,” he said on Tuesday.

Sen. Julián Gallo Cubillos of the FARC party said his coalition supports the legislation and that it represents “a new way to fight the scourge of drug trafficking.”

The proposal has also garnered the support of former President Juan Manuel Santos, who has been an outspoken advocate for ending the war on drugs. His Liberal party could make or break the legislation depending on where members fall.

While left and center-left lawmakers seem largely united around legalizing marijuana, the issue will likely face resistance from President Ivan Duque, who last year signed a decree banning low-level possession of cannabis and cocaine despite court rulings that such activity is permissible.

As Colombia Reports noted, however, Duque’s far-right Democratic Center party is in the minority.

“We’ll have to see how many senators are left to former president Juan Manuel Santos and see how public opinion receives the idea that marijuana can be consumed in public spaces,” Sen. Paloma Valencia, a member of the president’s party, said.

If the country does opt to pursue a regulated cannabis program, it will join Mexico, where lawmakers are readying legislation to legalize marijuana for adult use following a Supreme Court ruling establishing that a ban on possession and cultivation for personal use is unconstitutional.

Former White House Drug Czar Offers Marijuana Legalization Advice To Mexico

Photo courtesy of Brian Shamblen.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
Continue Reading

Politics

Marijuana Offenses Would No Longer Get Immigrants Deported Under New Congressional Bill

Published

on

The fourth highest-ranking Democrat in the House introduced a bill on Wednesday designed to protect immigrants from being deported or denied entry into the U.S. over low-level marijuana offenses.

Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) filed the Removing Marijuana from Deportable Offenses Act, which stipulates that “any offenses involving the use, possession, or distribution of marijuana shall not be considered as grounds of inadmissibility.”

It would further allow immigrants who’ve been denied a visa or deported due to cannabis offenses to reapply or have their visa reissued.

In a press release, Luján said that the legislation is necessary in order to combat what he described as the “despicable” weaponization of marijuana against immigrant communities by the Trump administration. According to Human Rights Watch, 34,000 immigrants were deported from 2007 to 2012 for cannabis possession.

“The federal government should not be wasting resources to wreak havoc on immigrant families when there are children held in border camps that are desperate for legal services, hygiene products, and basic humanitarian care,” he said. “Providing care for these children and families should be where the Trump administration devotes its funding – not working as a deportation force.”

“I’m proud to be fighting for this legislation to hold President Trump accountable and defend our immigrant communities from senseless and hateful policies,” he said.

The legislation is identical to a companion bill that Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced in June.

“This Administration’s efforts to use marijuana possession as a tool for deportation is misguided and does not make our communities safer,” Booker said. “Limited law enforcement resources should not be wasted on deporting people for something two of the last three presidents have admitted to doing.”

Earlier this year, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issued a memo stating that immigrants are ineligible for citizenship if they use marijuana or engage in cannabis-related activities, including employment in a state-legal cannabis business, because such activity is not consistent with “good moral character.”

So far, the House version has 21 cosponsors, including Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Lou Correa (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Jim McGovern (D-MA), Eric Swalwell (D-CA), Dina Titus (D-NV), Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ).

“We’re the closest that we have ever been to ending marijuana prohibition across the United States; it’s vital that individuals and communities that continue to bear the brunt of prohibition do not get left behind—that includes noncitizens,” Queen Adesuyi, policy coordinator for Drug Policy Alliance, said. “Marijuana has been one of the leading causes for deportation, destroying the lives of countless individuals and families over a substance that is now the center of an industry bringing in billions in profits.”

FWD.us President Todd Schulte called the proposal “commonsense legislation that will help keep families together and ensure taxpayer dollars aren’t wasted on cruelly deporting individuals with low-level offenses.”

“The status quo of marijuana criminalization is irrational and discriminatory towards tens of thousands of otherwise law-abiding aspiring Americans who pose no safety risk to the United States,” NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said. “Public opinion and policy surrounding cannabis are rapidly shifting, which is why we must ensure that those who strive to achieve the American Dream are treated with dignity.”

Also this week, Luján became of cosponsor of separate far-reaching legislation to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and divert funds toward programs to begin repairing the damage of the war on drugs.

Read the text of Luján’s marijuana and immigration bill below:

Lujan marijuana bill by Marijuana Moment on Scribd

Key Congressional Chair Says Marijuana Banking Vote Will Happen Over Groups’ Objections

Photo courtesy of Philip Steffan.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
Continue Reading
Advertisement

Stay Up To The Moment

Marijuana News In Your Inbox


Support Marijuana Moment

Marijuana News In Your Inbox

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!