Earlier today, Massachusetts State Senator Elizabeth Warren announced that she would be running for the Democratic nomination in the 2020 presidential election.
The 69-year-old politician is the most prominent Democrat to make a move towards a presidential bid in the upcoming election. Her announcement video highlighted her goals of remedying the economic imbalances faced by people of color, and featured footage of her involvement with the Women’s March as well as LGBTQ events.
Absent from the video was her views on cannabis reform, leaving some to ask, would President Warren support cannabis legalization?
All signs point to yes.
While Warren says she's never tried cannabis, her recent policies have consistently supported marijuana reform, though she did oppose legalization shortly after becoming a senator for Massachusetts. In 2013, Warren criticized MA state Representative Dan Winslow's pro-legalization policy. Warren went so far as saying Winslow “has a 100 percent ranking from the gun lobby and he’s for the legalization of marijuana. He wants us armed and stoned.”
Since then, she has changed her mind on the issue of cannabis. In 2016, Warren voted for the cannabis ballot initiative in Massachusetts, which legalized recreational consumption throughout the state. That same year, Warren called on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to explore medical cannabis as a solution to the opioid crisis.
More recently, Warren teamed up with Republican Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado last spring to introduce a bipartisan cannabis bill that would allow each state to determine the best approach to marijuana within its own borders. If passed, the STATES Act would exempt residents of legal states from federal prosecution and provide state-licensed businesses with access to banks. But the STATES Act isn't really a legalization bill because it would not remove marijuana from the list of Schedule I drugs in the Controlled Substances Act.
Warren said that the bill was a reaction to Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ stringent anti-marijuana stance.
“It spurred us to more immediate action, and to start at least to build the bridge,” she said during a press conference earlier this year. Unfortunately, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has blocked the bill from advancing, so it's stuck in legislative limbo for the foreseeable future.
But based on those efforts, it's safe to assume that Warren will pursue marijuana reform at a federal level if she becomes the 46th president of the United States.