In light of Attorney General Jeff Sessions' decision to rescind protections for legal marijuana states, many politicians from both political parties have come out to criticize the new policy. And while there's significant opposition to the move, and incredible support for legalization as an issue, Democrats are still not sure whether to make cannabis a campaign issue in 2018.
Huffington Post noted that while many high-ranking Democrats spoke critically against Sessions' new marijuana policy, they were non-committal on whether it would become part of their playbook heading into 2018 elections. Some said it was too early to determine 2018 electoral strategy, while others said it would be smarter to focus on economic issues rather than cannabis ones.
Part of the problem for Democrats is marijuana is one of the few issues in Washington that isn't highly polarized. While Republicans tend to support anti-marijuana policies more than Democrats, there's a large number in the GOP who support states making their own laws when it comes to cannabis. Republican Senators Cory Gardner and Lisa Murkowski both spoke out against Sessions' marijuana decision, showing that Democrats might not be able to monopolize the marijuana issue in 2018.
Heck, it's even hard for Democrats to support marijuana when some of the party's most senior leaders aren't pro-cannabis. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said, "I haven’t seen Sessions’ comments on marijuana," when asked about the Attorney General's new decision. And even Senator Dianne Feinstein from California hasn't supported legalization yet. So it's no wonder that certain senators facing re-election have been reluctant to talk about the issue.
At the same time, though, marijuana legalization is currently supported by more than 60 percent of the American people. Democrats can continue sitting on the cannabis fence, but that will open up the possibility of the GOP deciding to embrace the states' rights approach in the future and becoming the pro-marijuana party. Perhaps it would be better for Democrats to jump aboard the train now before they get left behind.