Wayne Messam (D-FL) is one of the few 2020 presidential candidates who doesn't intend to push federal cannabis reform if elected to office. Instead, Messam said he supports states' rights to choose their own cannabis laws without fear of federal prosecution.
Messam currently serves as mayor of Miramar, a mid-sized city in southern Florida. Cannabis hasn't been a big focus for him in his political career, but it does seem clear that Messam is generally in support of cannabis laws. Shortly after gaining office back in 2015, Messam spoke out in support of local legislation that would have seen small amounts of cannabis decriminalized in the county his jurisdiction resides in.
"We have to ensure our city doesn't become a place where lives are destroyed due to recreational possession of marijuana while providing real rehabilitation options that offer offenders resources to avoid a life of drug addiction and bad choices," Messam said in a Facebook post.
And if elected to the presidency voters should expect Messam to follow this general support of drug policy reform. On his official campaign website Messam called the War on Drugs "a failure" that has "ruined thousands of lives, especially in communities of color."
When it comes to cannabis specifically, Messam isn't as progressive as some of his presidential rivals who would see marijuana removed from the Controlled Substances Act completely. However, Messam said he supports a state's right to impose their own cannabis laws without fear of being prosecuted by the federal government.
"I believe states that have decided to move forward with marijuana legalization should be allowed to do so and other states should feel free to join the ranks without threats from the federal government," wrote Messam. "As long as those states that choose to do so continue to enforce DUI laws, spread economic benefits throughout all communities, and expunge records for those arrested for selling marijuana, they would have my full support as President."
So under a Messam presidency, voters can expect a general leniency towards state level cannabis reform. However, Messam doesn't seem prepared to implement wider cannabis reforms on the federal level, making him far from the strongest pick if national legalization is a key concern for you.