Super Tuesday dashes hopes for near-term cannabis reform at the federal level
One week ago, on the day of the South Carolina primary and just days before Super Tuesday would send millions of voters in 14 states to the polls, there were nine presidential candidates still vying for the Oval Office. These included incumbent Republican Donald Trump, who is all but a shoo-in to lock up the Republican Party nomination for president, and eight Democrats.
A majority of these remaining candidates had either laid out a plan to legalize marijuana in the United States or expressed their views that cannabis should be legalized. This included Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who had put out a very detailed two-pronged approach to legalize marijuana in the United States. It also included former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), both of whom had pledged to legalize marijuana if they were to become president. Unfortunately for cannabis-reform supporters, none of these candidates survived the week.
Of the four remaining candidates, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) has just one pledged delegate, making it likely only a matter of time before she steps aside. That leaves three candidates — Donald Trump, former Vice President Joe Biden (D), and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — to vie for the White House.
Incumbent Donald Trump, while amicable to the idea of allowing states the right to set their own cannabis policies, is likely the most negative toward recreational weed than any candidate in the field. In fact, according to the Trump reelection campaign’s director of strategic communications Marc Lotter, the president would prefer to keep currently illegal drugs as illicit. That includes cannabis.
Meanwhile, former Vice President Joe Biden spearheaded some of the harshest bills against drug users and dealers during the war on drugs and only recently announced that his views on cannabis have changed. While Biden has tinkered with the idea of decriminalizing marijuana, he remains steadfast against legalization.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is the only remaining candidate who fully supports legalization, but he’s facing a potential uphill battle following the Super Tuesday delegate shakeout.
Clearly, there’s still a lot to be decided with regard to who will be in the Oval Office come 2021 and beyond, but the once-promising possibility of cannabis reform is looking far less likely now.