Politicians Use 420 to Push Cannabis Legalization Agendas
While many marijuana enthusiasts may have spent yesterday toking up in celebration of the cannabis community’s official-unofficial holiday, several 420-friendly politicians used their platforms to call for legalization and other pro-pot policies.
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), an outspoken supporter of cannabis who vowed to remove the plant from the Controlled Substance Act during his bid for the presidency earlier this year, continued to campaign for legalization and the expungement of low-level marijuana convictions.
“It makes no sense for young people to be denied jobs because they were arrested for smoking marijuana,” Sanders tweeted, alongside a video clip entitled “decriminalize weed now” to 9.5 million followers.
It makes no sense for young people to be denied jobs because they were arrested for smoking marijuana. It is time to legalize marijuana, expunge past marijuana convictions and end the failed war on drugs. pic.twitter.com/KimMYKoLAn— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) April 20, 2020
In a separate message from a second Twitter account with 11.8 million followers, Sanders wrote, “We have got to legalize marijuana, expunge past marijuana convictions and end the failed War on Drugs.”
Sanders wasn’t the only senator from the Northeast to recognize 420 with a call for decriminalization. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who has 4.1 million followers on Twitter, said, “It’s long past time to legalize marijuana and create a cannabis industry that’s open to all -- and begin to repair the damage caused by our current criminal justice system.”
Warren also shared a link to her plan for creating a “Just and Equitable Cannabis Industry,” which calls for approving the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity (MORE) Act and “ensuring access to the banking system.”
It’s long past time to legalize marijuana and create a cannabis industry that’s open to all—and begin to repair the damage caused by our current criminal justice system. https://t.co/tqjRBsuA7t— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) April 20, 2020
Fellow Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey also tweeted to his more than 47,000 followers saying, “We must legalize marijuana and expunge all prior convictions."
He later tweeted that "Black and Brown communities have been unfairly criminalized by the War on Drugs."
Black and Brown communities have been unfairly criminalized by the War on Drugs. As we move towards cannabis legalization, we must prioritize social justice and invest in the communities harmed most by these discriminatory policies.— Ed Markey (@EdMarkey) April 21, 2020
Several other current members of Congress chimed in yesterday, including California Sen. Kamala Harris who tweeted her support of the MORE Act at exactly 4:20 P.M.
The Senate must pass my Marijuana Opportunity Act to legalize marijuana at the federal level and expunge non-violent marijuana-related offenses from the records of the millions who’ve been arrested or incarcerated. Too many lives have been ruined by these regressive policies.— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) April 20, 2020
A non-exhaustive list of pro-cannabis sentiments shared by politicans on 420 is below.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ):
It’s not enough to legalize marijuana—we must expunge arrest records & repair the damage done to those communities that have been most harmed by the failed War on Drugs. My Marijuana Justice Act would do this & more. The end we seek is not just legalization—it’s justice.— Sen. Cory Booker (@SenBooker) April 20, 2020
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA):
It's time to legalize marijuana and bring justice to people of color harmed by failed drug policies. My bill to do that has already passed the House—I remain committed to getting it passed in the Senate.— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) April 20, 2020
Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA):
Justice in this country demands a reckoning with our past.— Rep. Joe Kennedy III (@RepJoeKennedy) April 20, 2020
That’s why we must not just legalize marijuana but expunge past possession records and provide clemency.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR):
The U.S. today has effectively given death sentences to hundreds of thousands of non-violent drug offenders trapped in COVID-19 hotspots in our prisons.— Earl Blumenauer (@repblumenauer) April 20, 2020
This 4/20, let's commit to staying the course & reforming our harmful cannabis policies.https://t.co/0dt4E2BSTs
Rep. Don Young (R-AK):
For too long, the federal government has stood in the way of states that have acted to set their own #cannabis policies. I’ve visited my state’s legal cannabis operations, and the fact is that these businesses contribute to our economy and create jobs for Alaskans. pic.twitter.com/cX8zvsxtZa— Rep. Don Young (@repdonyoung) April 20, 2020
Former Colorado Governor and current Senate candidate John Hickenlooper (D-CO):
Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang: