With the 2022 elections fast approaching, cannabis legalization is once again on the ballot. Across the nation, political candidates supporting marijuana legalization are eager to gain support from voters on either end of the political spectrum. We've highlighted a few prominent pro-cannabis contenders that will be up for election this year, including politicians in favor of legalizing cannabis on both sides of the aisle.
This year, both Democratic candidates running for the Governor of Florida are in favor of legalizing cannabis on the recreational level. Former lobbyist for the medical cannabis industry, Florida Agriculture Commissioner, Nikki Fried, has been at the forefront of the legalization movement since becoming a medical marijuana patient herself back in 2015. Her opponent, Congressman Charlie Crist, has also been an avid supporter of cannabis legalization. Earlier this year, Crist worked tirelessly to pass the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act in the U.S. House of Representatives that would decriminalize cannabis on the federal level. According to Crist, "With state after state opening up their own cannabis laws in one form or another, the time to legalize is now! I could not be more proud to help get it done at the federal level."
Idaho gubernatorial candidate Stephen Heidt is running for Governor of the Buckeye State this fall. Heidt has made marijuana decriminalization and medical legalization a priority issue.
In fact, his campaign website states plainly, "We should decriminalize cannabis, and the penalty for its improper use should be level equivalent to that of a traffic violation. By doing this, we will decrease the number of Idaho citizens in custody in county jails and out-of-state prisons, drastically minimizing the cost of detention, probation, and parole supervision, generating new state revenue, and saving millions of taxpayer dollars each year."
Historically, Republicans have positioned themselves in strong opposition to cannabis legalization, especially recreational use, however, that once predictable trend may be starting to change. In fact, based on a recent 2022 survey of Republican voters from South Carolina, 76% expressed their support for legalizing medical marijuana. This news comes with a surprising number of pro-cannabis GOP candidates up for election this November.
Republican from Missouri C.W. Gardner is running for election to the U.S. Senate on a pro-marijuana platform, with bold promises to legalize cannabis on the federal level if elected. Says Gardner in his campaign ad, "When I get to Washington D.C., I plan on introducing my 'pot for potholes' legislation. Legalize marijuana at the federal level and take a portion of the tax money collected to bankroll research and development for pothole eradication."
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Multiple states will also be proposing crucial marijuana related ballot initiatives this November. Voters in South Dakota will soon be deciding whether to legalize recreational marijuana once and for all throughout the Mount Rushmore State. Earlier this month, over 193,000 petition signatures were submitted to the Arkansas Secretary of State's office to put a proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot. More states will likely be following suit, with Maryland, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Arkansas, and Nebraska all posed to enact similar ballot initiatives in the upcoming election.