Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is hitting the campaign trail after announcing her intent to run for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination—and at a stop in New Hampshire last week, she reaffirmed her support for marijuana legalization.
A reporter asked Warren how she currently felt about cannabis reform, and the senator replied that she “voted in favor of legalizing marijuana in Massachusetts” and that she believes “we should legalize it nationally.”
It is not the first time Warren has mentioned her personal vote in favor of the 2016 cannabis ballot measure in her home state. Last year, her staff clarified that she pulled the lever for the legalization proposal after Marijuana Moment reported on a false claim the senator made about endorsing the Massachusetts initiative, which she did not publicly do.
“I think it makes no sense for marijuana to be a Schedule I drug [under the Controlled Substance Act], which means the federal government has decided in advance that there is no medicinal value to marijuana and just completely bans it and makes it very difficult to do research,” Warren said in the new remarks in New Hampshire.
The senator also touted her bipartisan bill to exempt legal marijuana states from enforcement under federal drug laws. The legislation, filed alongside Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), “says if states have legalized marijuana then the federal government should recede,” she said.
While she’d prefer to federally legalize cannabis, the senator said she’d “also work with Republicans” to support a state-by-state legalization approach “if that’s the best we can do.”
Those comments are likely to resonate with New Hampshire Democratic voters. A survey of more than 1,100 of the party’s registered voters in the state showed that about 10 percent considered cannabis legalization their top political issue.
The poll, released last month, also suggested that voters were more inclined to back either Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) or former Vice President Joe Biden for the presidential election. Almost 50 percent of Sanders supporters said cannabis reform was their top priority.
While federal legalization may be a ways off, New Hampshire residents are already seeing legislative efforts to end cannabis prohibition at the state level advance through the legislature. Last week, a key House committee approved a bill that would legalize for adult use and also create a pathway for expungements of prior cannabis convictions. A floor vote is expected this week.
Gov. Chris Sununu (R) is opposed to legalization, but House Speaker Steve Shurtleff (D) believes the chamber has the votes to override a veto, and the Senate might, too.
Photo courtesy of C-SPAN.