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Federally Legal Cannabis After 2024’s Presidential Election? 

Federally Legal Cannabis After 2024’s Presidential Election? 

It’s been a long and arduous road, but it looks like cannabis legalization may finally be on the horizon in the United States. As of mid-2022, 19 states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for recreational use, while 38 states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for medicinal use. The tides seem to be turning in favor of legalization – with public opinion polls consistently showing that a majority of Americans support cannabis legalization.

So, could 2024 be the year that cannabis is finally legalized federally in the U.S.? It’s hard to say for sure, but there are certainly some promising indicators. In this article, we’ll take a look at the current state of affairs and make some predictions about what could happen in 2024 – when the next U.S. Presidential election takes place.

Adam Kinzinger

Party: Republican
Role: U.S. Representative for Illinois’s 16th congressional district
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: Yes! 

Details: While his voting record on various cannabis bills is mixed — voting no on the MORE act in 4/22 but yes on SAFE banking acting in 2021 — his last official position in a Facebook town hall in 2017 was that favors legalizing cannabis on a federal level.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez 

Party: Democrat
Role: U.S. Representative for New York’s 14th congressional district 
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: Yes!

Details: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) not only supports legalization but has been a key sponsor for Harnessing Opportunities by Pursuing Expungement (HOPE) Act in 2021.

Amy Klobuchar

Party: Democrat
Role: Senator from Minnesota
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: Yes!

Details: Amy Klobuchar not only supports legalization but was a co-sponsor on a bill legalizing cannabis research.

Andrew Cuomo

Party: Democrat
Role: Former Governor of New York
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: Yes!

Details: While you may not approve of his scandals, Andrew Cuomo was the governor who signed the bill legalizing recreational cannabis in New York State, and he hopes to do so on a federal level as well.

Andy Beshear

Party: Democrat
Role: Governor of Kentucky 
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: Yes!

Details: In spring 2022, Andy Beshear was annoyed enough at the medical marijuana bill being stalled in the state Senate that he declared he was willing to explore signing an executive order to legalize medical marijuana in Kentucky

Ben Sass

Party: Republican
Role: Senator from Nebraska
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: Undecided

Details: Ben Sasse has not indicated whether he would legalize marijuana on a federal level or not, but it seems unlikely as his only official stance on legalizing cannabis is that it should be left up to the individual states.

Bob Corker

Party: Republican
Role: Former Senator from Tennessee 
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: No

Details: Bob Corker takes a hard stance on drugs, believing cannabis should not be legal on any level.

Chris Christie

Party: Republican
Role: Former Governor of New Jersey
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: No

Details: Mostly known in the NorthEast for “Bridgegate,” Chris Christie has declared that if wins the presidential election, he would not only not legalize cannabis on a federal level, he would go after states that have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational purposes.

Chris Sununu

Party: Republican
Role: Governor of New Hampshire
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: No

Details: Chris Sununu didn’t want to legalize cannabis in New Hampshire, so the state decided to limit a Governor’s powers and legalize it anyway. That move indicates his position is pretty firm and would likely apply on a federal level.

Cory Booker

Party: Democrat
Role: Senator from New Jersey
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: Yes!

Details: Senator Cory Booker introduced the Marijuana Justice Act (S.597) in 2019 to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act. The bill also attempted to establish a community reinvestment fund, allow for the expungement of previous drug convictions, and penalize jurisdictions that disproportionately enforce cannabis laws (regarding race or income status).

Daniel Crenshaw

Party: Republican
Role: United States Representative for Texas’s 2nd congressional district
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: No

Details: Though David Crenshaw believes that while medical marijuana should be federally legal, recreational should be left for the states to decide. He is no staunch prohibitionist, but he isn’t opening any doors for anyone either.

Donald Trump

Party: Republican
Role: Former U.S. President (1 term)
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: Yes

Details: Donald Trump said in an interview in 2018 that he “really” supports new marijuana legislation filed by Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) — the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Entrusting States (STATES) Act —  which would amend the federal Controlled Substances Act to exempt state-legal marijuana activity from its provisions.

Doug Ducey

Party: Republican
Role: Governor of Arizona
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: No

Details: Doug Ducey supports Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, a non-profit organization that aims to raise awareness about the harms of marijuana and other substances and to oppose the legalization of marijuana.

Elise Stefanik

Party: Republican
Role: U.S. Representative for New York’s 21st congressional district
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: No

Details: Elle Stefanik voted against the Medical Marijuana Research Act, a bill that establishes a new, separate registration process to facilitate medical marijuana research. Stefanik also criticized federal marijuana decriminalization legislation that passed the House in March 2022.

Elizabeth Warren 

Party: Democrat
Role: Senator from Massachusetts
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: Yes!

Details: In 2021, Senator Elizabeth Warren sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland urging the Department of Justice (DOJ) to decriminalize cannabis by removing the drug from the Federal controlled substances list. Her presidential campaign includes plans on federal marijuana legalization.

Gavin Newsom

Party: Democrat
Role: Governor of California
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: Yes!

Details: Newsom promoted Prop. 64 in 2016 as a chance to repair the damage caused by a drug war that disproportionately targeted Blacks and Latinos, but after three years as governor, Newsom barely debated marijuana policy publicly. Many in the cannabis sector were dismayed by his quiet, as they had expected him to continue to lead on the subject.

Gina Raimondo 

Party: Democrat
Role: 40th United States Secretary of Commerce, Former Governor of Rhode Island 
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: Yes!

Details: Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo called for legalization of recreational marijuana in her budget proposal in January 2019.

Glenn Youngkin

Party: Republican
Role: Governor of Virginia
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: Yes!

Details: In January 2022, Glenn Youngkin, Virginia’s newly elected Republican governor said he isn’t opposed to recreational marijuana legalization and isn’t aiming to overturn it, but “I think there is a lot of work to be done.” However, in April 2022, Youngkin shared plans to re-criminalize certain activities related to marijuana possession in Virginia. He has submitted an amendment to SB 591, which creates two new misdemeanors for personal marijuana possession.

Greg Abbott 

Party: Republican
Role: Governor of Texas
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: No

Details: Abbott hasn’t signed off on changes in the law, but he’s not a hard-liner on the subject. He said before the 2018 election that he was open to lowering penalties for possession. In May 2022, he stated that his view hasn’t changed from what he’s recommended in the past, which is to reduce the criminal punishment for marijuana possession to a Class C misdemeanor rather than legalizing the drug, despite a recent survey showing that a majority of Texans approve medical and recreational marijuana use.

Gretchen Whitmer

Party: Democrat
Role: Governor of Michigan
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: Yes!

Details: In April 2021, Governor Gretchen Whitmer took a stand in support of marijuana legalization nationwide, urging passage of the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act. This act would lift legal restrictions on banks and allow institutions to bank with state-licensed cannabis businesses.

Hillary Clinton

Party: Democrat
Role: Former U.S. Secretary of State, Former Senator from New York, Former First Lady
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: Undecided

Details: Clinton wants cannabis reclassified at the same level as cocaine or methamphetamine, with nonviolent marijuana users given “alternatives to jail.” However, she also wants to see medical marijuana become more widely available at the state level. Clinton believes the federal government should conduct studies into marijuana’s medical potential. 

J.B. Pritzker

Party: Democrat
Role: Governor of Illinois
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: Yes!

Details: Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a law in June 2019 in Chicago allowing the legalization of recreational marijuana use and possession in Illinois beginning Jan. 1, 2020.

Jay Inslee

Party: Democrat
Role: Governor of Washington
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: Yes!

Details: Washington is one of nine states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use, and Governor Jay Inslee has been a major supporter of the drug since taking office in 2013. In January 2022, he spoke out against US Attorney General Jeff Sessions‘ decision to abandon a policy that protected states’ rights and encouraged federal prosecutors not to pursue state marijuana businesses.

Joe Kennedy

Party: Democrat
Role: Former U.S. Representative for Massachusetts’s 4th congressional district
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: Yes!

Details: In 2018, Representative Joe Kennedy III stated his support for federal marijuana legalization.

Joni Ernst 

Party: Republican
Role: Senator from Iowa
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: No

Details: Joni Ernst opposes the legalization of medical and recreational cannabis but approves of the use of medical cannabis oil

Josh Hawley

Party: Republican
Role: Senator from Missouri 
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: Undecided

Details: Josh Hawley remains unsure about the legalization of recreational marijuana. He has said he’s inclined to support medical marijuana but wants to make sure there are enough protections to limit it to medical use. Republican challenger Josh Hawley has yet to really make any public statements about his beliefs regarding the legalization of marijuana.

Kamala Harris

Party: Democrat
Role: Vice President of the United States, Former Senator from California
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: Yes!

Details: Vice President Kamala Harris advocated full legalization under federal law while campaigning in May 2019.

Kristi Noem

Party: Republican
Role: Governor of South Dakota
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: No

Details: After Governor Kristi Noem started the legal fight to do so, the  South Dakota Supreme Court affirmed a lower court’s decision to strike down a voter-approved constitutional amendment that would have authorized recreational marijuana usage. She also spearheaded the legal battle to overturn the November 2020 ballot amendment. 

Larry Hogan

Party: Republican
Role: Governor of Maryland
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: Undecided

Details: HB 837 was included in a list of bills that Governor Larry Hoganis not signing or vetoing. If voters pass the ballot proposal, this bill establishes the basic guidelines for the adult-use program. The majority of these clauses deal with sanctions and expungement. That bill, according to Hogan, will go into force without him signing it.

Liz Cheney

Party: Republican
Role: U.S. Representative for Wyoming’s at-large congressional district 
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: No

Details: When the MORE Act was passed by the U.S. House in April 2022 with a vote of 220–204,  Wyoming’s U.S. Representative Liz Cheney was unable to vote due to illness. On the other hand, she filed an official statement to the House explaining that if she had been present, she would have voted “No” on the MORE Act.

Marco Rubio

Party: Republican
Role: Senator from Florida 
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: No

Details: In an interview with a local television station in Pensacola, Florida, in April 2022, Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio explained why he opposes federal cannabis legalization. His main concern was Cannabis can be a “gateway” drug or one that leads users to other, more harmful drugs. 

Michael Bennet

Party: Democrat
Role: Senator from Colorado
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: Yes!

Details: In 2012, Bennet opposed Colorado’s Amendment 64, which aimed to legalize marijuana in the state. He has since backed other broad-based cannabis initiatives in the Senate. He sponsored a bill in 2017 to ensure that industrial hemp producers have access to federally controlled water. During the 115th and 116th Congresses, he cosponsored the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act, the bill to protect states that have legalized marijuana from federal enforcement, as well as a bill that would declassify marijuana and bipartisan legislation that would protect Banks that service state-legal cannabis firms.

Michelle Lujan Grisham 

Party: Democrat
Role: Governor of New Mexico
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: Yes!

Details: New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham formally passed adult-use cannabis legalization in April 2021. “The legalization of adult-use cannabis paves the way for the creation of a new economic driver in our state with the promise of creating thousands of good paying jobs for years to come,” said Governor Lujan Grisham.

Mike DeWine

Party: Republican
Role: Governor of Ohio
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: No

Details: The governor met with members of the Ogden News editorial board and reporters via Zoom in January 2022 and reiterated his previously-stated opposition to marijuana legalization. The governor said he would explore a proposal in the Ohio General Assembly to ease medical marijuana regulations. Given the problems caused by other substances, such as driving under the influence, “I think it’s ridiculous to add an additional problem,” DeWine said. 

Mike Lee 

Party: Republican
Role: Senator from Utah
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: Undecided

Details: A comment from Lee regarding the legalization effort has not yet been received. Lee indicated he could support reclassifying marijuana from a Schedule 1 to a Schedule 2 drug, which would allow for further study while meeting with Utah House Democrats in 2019. He’s also said he’s open to modifying banking laws to make it easier for financial institutions to deal with marijuana businesses that are legal in their respective jurisdictions. Lee is a supporter of legislation that would cut mandatory minimum terms for nonviolent drug offenses.

Mike Pence

Party: Republican
Role: Former Vice President under Donald Trump, Former Governor of Indiana
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: No

Details: Gov. Mike Pence remarked during a 2012 gubernatorial debate in Zionsville, Indiana, that he opposed any marijuana legislation modifications and saw marijuana as a “gateway” drug. In 2016, Pence challenged legislation that would drastically reduce marijuana punishments, even for minor drug offenses. 

Mike Pompeo 

Party: Republican
Role: Former Director of the CIA, Former Secretary of State (both under Donald Trump)
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: No

Details: In 2014,  Pompeo voted No for House Amendment 748, which prohibits federal agencies from preventing states from authorizing the use of medical marijuana.

Mitch Landrieu 

Party: Democrat
Role: Former Mayor of New Orleans, Former Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: Yes!

Details: Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed legislation decriminalizing marijuana in the city of New Orleans on March 23, 2016.

Mitt Romney 

Party: Republican
Role: Senator from Utah
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: No

Details: Sen. Mitt Romney is firmly against legalizing marijuana on any level, explaining that using marijuana is “against my faith, so for a couple of reasons I don’t use it, and I would not vote to make it legal.”

Nikki Haley 

Party: Republican
Role: Former Governor of South Carolina, Former Ambassador to the U.N. under Donald Trump
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: Yes!

Details: Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina signed the Medical Cannabis Therapeutic Treatment Research Act into law in 2014, allowing children with severe epilepsy to use cannabidiol oil (CBD), a non-psychoactive derivative of cannabis, to help reduce their seizures if a licensed physician recommends it. Haley also signed a hemp growing measure into law in 2015.

Nina Turner 

Party: Democrat
Role: Former Senator from Ohio
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: Yes!

Details: Ohio Democratic congressional candidate Nina Turner tweeted her pro-legalization stance in April 2022, saying, “People are incarcerated for using cannabis while others are legally profiting from it in this country. Legalize it, erase convictions, and make the cannabis industry equitable for Black and brown communities that have been devastated by its criminalization.”

Pete Buttigieg 

Party: Democrat
Role: Secretary of Transportation under Joe Biden
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: Yes!

Details: While Buttigieg hasn’t commented on the DOT’s marijuana testing policy, he ran for president in 2020 on a platform of legalizing marijuana and decriminalizing other currently illegal narcotics.

Phil Murphy

Party: Democrat
Role: Governor of New Jersey
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: Yes!

Details: Phil Murphy ran for governor in 2017, vowing to legalize marijuana “within his first 100 days.” In 2022, he announced on Twitter that recreational marijuana sales in New Jersey for those 21 and older had begun and declared, “This is a historic step in our work to create a new cannabis industry.”

Rick Scott 

Party: Republican
Role: Senator from Florida
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: No

Details: Senator Rick Scott voted against the MORE Act in 2022, stating in a CNS interview that he did not support cannabis legalization based on a personal history of family members struggling with drugs.”

Ron DeSantis

Party: Republican
Role: Governor of Florida
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: No

Details: One of the reasons Governor Ron DeSantis may remain opposed to marijuana legalization in Florida is its “putrid” odor. The Governor’s comments come as Democratic governor candidates pledge to legalize marijuana if elected. DeSantis, on the other hand, called those assurances false. He added that such an undertaking would require legislative agreement, which he does not intend to provide. 

Roy Cooper 

Party: Democrat
Role: Governor of North Carolina
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: Yes!

Details: As part of a series of policy recommendations on racial fairness issued in 2020, a task panel created by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper advocated decriminalization of cannabis. Prior cannabis convictions should be wiped, according to the group, and the state should consider legalizing marijuana more widely.

Stacey Abrams

Party: Democrat
Role: Former Minority Leader in the  Georgia House of Representatives
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: Yes!

Details: Her support for decriminalization, legalization, and local cultivation of medical marijuana was announced through a Twitter post in 2018 when she shared that “Once we have established a strong substance abuse network, I am open to legalization for recreational use.”

Ted Cruz

Party: Republican
Role: Senator from Texas
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: No

Details: In an interview with Jay Root of The Texas Tribune, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas discussed marijuana legalization, stating that states’ rights trumped his personal beliefs. “I don’t support drug legalization, but I do support the Constitution. I think individual states can choose to adopt it. So if Texas had it on the ballot, I’d vote against it, but I respect the authority of states to follow different policies.” 

Tim Scott

Party: Republican
Role: Senator from South Carolina
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: No

Details: Tim Scott responded to a constituent’s email in 2011 outlining his position on HR2306 or the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act. In his response, he said, “There is growing scientific evidence documenting the health risks associated with marijuana use, including adverse effects on the lungs, the cardiovascular system, and possibly the immune & reproductive systems. However, I also understand the great importance of preserving the rights bestowed to the States.”

Tom Cotton

Party: Republican
Role: Senator from Arkansas
Supports marijuana legalization on a federal level: No

Details: Sen. Tom Cotton believes it is irresponsible to commercialize recreational marijuana. “I don’t think we should, in Congress, change the laws that would essentially, not just decriminalize or even legalize marijuana, but allow it to be commercialized because of all the negative side effects that would happen.”

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TMCC Admin Team

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