Many politicians like to walk the tightrope on marijuana legalization. How many times have you heard someone say, “I don’t think we should legalize it until more research is done”? That’s code for, “I don’t want to legalize it, but I realize most people disagree with me so I won’t say that directly.” But if you’re looking for politicians who aren’t afraid to hide their anti-marijuana stances, we collected 10 of the best:
10. Pete Sessions (Texas)
Sessions (unrelated to Jeff) is in a rarefied position on this list because he has significant power in Congress to advance his anti-marijuana agenda. As the chairman of the House Rules Committee, Sessions has significant influence over what bills get voted on by Congress. In the past year, he’s blocked a bill that would prevent the federal government from cracking down on legal marijuana stats and also killed a proposal that would allow veterans access to medical cannabis.
9. Mike Pence
The current Vice-President is no fan of marijuana. He’s referred to cannabis as a “gateway drug,” and even helped re-write Indiana’s criminal code to give tougher punishments for marijuana crimes. As Governor of Indiana, he has prevented the state from legalizing any form of medical marijuana.
8. John Boozman (Arkansas)
As a U.S. senator from Arkansas, Boozman’s had many chances to vote in favor of minor marijuana reforms. He’s chosen to vote no every time. He’s also classified states with medial marijuana as a “free-for-all” where doctors prescribe cannabis for everything.
7. Deb Fischer (Nebraska)
Senator Fischer has made some radical proposals regarding marijuana. Last summer she introduced a bill that would cut funding from the Department of Justice if they didn’t institute harsher policies to monitor states with legal marijuana and act more forcefully to prevent cannabis from crossing state lines.
6. Mark Kirk (Illinois)
Mark Kirk has the distinguished honor of receiving an “F” from NORML based on his anti-marijuana stances. He favors full restrictions on the drug, has introduced bills that would increase prisons sentences for marijuana violations, and referred to cannabis users as “burnouts.” Unfortunately these stances did not work out well as he lost his re-election bid last November.
5. Marco Rubio (Florida)
The Florida Senator and former presidential candidate is no fan of marijuana legalization. While on the 2016 campaign trail, Rubio spoke out against cannabis and compared using the drug to alcohol abuse. He even said, “There’s no positive impact to using marijuana.” Maybe if he’d embraced marijuana he would’ve won the nomination.
4. Tom Price (Georgia)
Price briefly served as President Trump’s Secretary of Health and Human Services before resigning over a controversy for flying on a private jet using government money. But before his resignation, Price was another anti-marijuana member of Trump’s cabinet. He repeatedly voted against any pro-cannabis legislation while in the Senate. Maybe he’ll be replaced by someone a little more pot friendly.
3. Patrick Kennedy (Rhode Island)
While most marijuana opponents are Republicans, there are Democrats who don’t support expanding cannabis laws. One prominent Democrat is Patrick Kennedy, a former Congressman from Rhode Island and son of Ted Kennedy. And even though the younger Kennedy is no longer in Congress, he has still spent millions of dollars from his organization to oppose marijuana ballot initiatives throughout the United States.
2. Mitch McConnell (Kentucky)
McConnell may not be as fire-and-brimstone against marijuana as other prominent politicians, but he has said that legalizing marijuana would lead society to devolve into a bad place. And as the Senate Majority Leader, he has done nothing to help support marijuana laws in legal states.
1. Jeff Sessions
I mean, who else could be number one?