It may be more than two years before we can get Trump out of the White House, but this November, we at least have the chance to oust some the country’s most prohibitionist politicians during the midterms. With more and more people all over the political spectrum supporting cannabis legalization, prohibitionist views will increasingly hurt politicians’ chances of re-election. Here are some lawmakers we need to get out of the Capitol to push legalization forward.
As if getting rid of the Cole Memo wasn’t enough, Deb Fischer, a Republican Senator from Nebraska, has introduced a bill calling on the Justice Department to come up with a plan to measure the impact of state cannabis legalization—or lose its funding. “Marijuana is being transported across state lines and making its way out of states such as Colorado and into Nebraska’s communities,” she said in a press release. “This drug remains an illegal substance on the federal level and in Nebraska, where our law enforcement officers are working hard to stop the crime and violence associated with its transport.”
This Arizona Republican House member has said some alarmist things about cannabis, claiming that legalizing it “would cause major public safety risks, endanger Arizona kids, and protect a commercial industry that profits from expanded drug use.” In 2014, he introduced the No Welfare for Weed Act, which would stop people from buying marijuana using welfare benefits.
Pete Sessions isn’t related to Jeff Sessions, but he’s just as bad when it comes to cannabis policy. As chairman of the House Rules Committee, he’s stopped the House from voting on any cannabis amendments for two years. The amendments he blocked included one helping veterans access medical cannabis, one allowing people charged with cannabis offenses to keep their driver's licenses, and one providing protections to banks serving cannabis businesses. In a recent statement, Sessions declared, "I am firmly against allowing these merchants of addiction to infiltrate our communities and bring down our children and families." The first step toward getting new legislation on the House floor is getting him off it.
Republican Florida Senator Marco Rubio seems to know something about cottonmouth, but he claimed at a campaign event in 2016 that “there’s no positive impact to using marijuana,” comparing it to alcohol. He did, however, say he’d be open to medical cannabis legalization “if you can go to the FDA and prove that it helps with medicine.” (We’re not sure if he knows that’s already happening). At least he’s not president.
Doug La Malfa
Though he represents California, this Republican House member has yet to catch up with his state’s progressive cannabis laws. Last year, he sent letters asking Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to stop people from growing cannabis on federal land. “Illegal marijuana grows have an extremely detrimental impact on our public lands, causing severe damage to our environment and creating an unsafe atmosphere for the public who wish to enjoy the land,” he said in a statement. Because when you think Republican, you think protecting the environment.
This Illinois Republican Representative did not stand by his state’s senate in approving a medical cannabis bill. “This type of law, and the laws in these other states, they give the justification, the rationale, the normalization that this is somehow benign,” he said. "That’s the problem. I can’t get over that fact what this has done to teenagers in other states.” That bill became law anyway, but he could stop similar bills in the future if he sticks around.
This Iowa Republican Representative is not only anti-cannabis but also anti-immigrant, saying on ABC Univision that for every immigrant who’s a valedictorian, there’s 100 who have “got calves the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.” We’re pretty sure that’s an #alternativefact.
Let’s hope that in the coming months, there will be fewer people like them on Capitol Hill and more like Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Rand Paul and Elizabeth Warren.