Marijuana on the Midterms: Where Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) Stands on Cannabis Legalization

As the Congressional mid-term elections draw near, it's time to look at where Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) stands on cannabis legalization. In short, Hyde-Smith has yet to publicly voice her stance on cannabis legalization, but she doesn't face much pressure to advocate for cannabis in a state where medicinal marijuana is barely legal and recreational cannabis is still widely frowned upon.

Earlier this year, Gov. Phil Bryant appointed Hyde-Smith to replace Sen. Thad Cochran (R), who resigned this past April at age 80 for personal health reasons, to become the first woman to represent the state of Mississippi in Congress. She faces several challengers in the wide-open special election this November to serve the rest of Cochran’s term (through January 2021) and become the first woman elected, and not just appointed, to Congress to represent The Magnolia State.

Hyde-Smith is a cattle farmer who worked as a congressional affairs consultant before being elected to represent the 39th Senatorial District from 2000-2012, becoming the first woman voted to the Mississippi legislature in the state's history. In 2012, Hyde-Smith was elected to the first of two consecutive terms as the Republican Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce.

Though she joined the Mississippi State Senate as a Democrat, she switched her party affiliation to the Republican in December 2010, and she describes herself as a lifelong conservative. The White House indicated in May that even though she was an early supporter of President Trump - she even co-chaired his Agriculture Policy Advisory Council during the 2016 presidential election - the administration will not support Hyde-Smith in the upcoming election because it views her former affiliation with the Democratic party as a liability.

However, we do have one bit of insight into Hyde-Smith's stance on cannabis legalization: in June she voted to block an amendment that would have protected financial institutions that offer services to cannabis-related businesses from advancing to a formal vote, suggesting that she does not support any change to the herb's illegal status.

Our Grade: C-

Though Hyde-Smith has neither voiced outright support nor opposition to cannabis legalization, she is openly campaigning as someone who will further President Trump's conservative agenda, including working to repeal health care mandates enacted under President Obama, so we don't see her becoming champion for protecting medical cannabis making recreational cannabis legal.


President Trump's 2020 budget request includes a loophole that would let Washington, DC finally open up dispensaries for recreational cannabis. Although DC voters passed a ballot initiative to legalize recreational cannabis back in 2014, Congress has used its power over the nation's capital to prevent it from selling cannabis for recreational use. Right now, local dispensaries can only sell medical marijuana to registered patients thanks to Congress, which controls spending in the District of Columbia.

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