Pete Buttigieg (D), the young mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is the latest presidential hopeful to placed his hat in the ring for the quickly-crowding 2020 race. He announced his long-shot candidacy on Wednesday.
While you may not recognize (or even be able to pronounce) the name, and despite his relatively small political status, Buttigieg is not to be dismissed.
The 37-year old Afghanistan veteran has been name-dropped as a rising talent by former President Barrack Obama, and captured the attention of many other prominent Democrats after his unsuccessful though highly publicized candidacy for the DNC Chair in 2017, which has led to rampant speculation—including from reputable sources like The New York Times—that he could be elected as the first openly gay president.
That forecast is now one step closer to becoming a reality, as Buttigieg officially announced his nomination on Wednesday, saying it’s going to take “new ideas, and fresh faces” for the Democrats to regain the White House.
The question is, do these “fresh ideas,” extend to expanding federal cannabis reform?
Considering Buttigieg’s position as a mayor gives him limited legislative powers, his track record on cannabis is not particularly impressive.
His strongest stance related to the subject is his efforts to ban synthetic marijuana in his city. The dangerous marijuana doppelgänger has led to several overdoses in Indiana and its surrounding states, prompting Buttigieg to sign an ordinance prohibiting the sale of the drug in South Bend.
His stated reason for taking this action was that he had actually found himself at the scene of an overdose in 2017.
“I encountered someone who was helping a young person that I thought was having a seizure, and after we had contacted 911 I saw that there were two other kids on the lawn of the home, semi-conscious and we believe, in danger of their lives,” he told NBC News. “I really thought I was going to watch one of these young people lose his life. This is deadly, serious stuff.”
However, when it comes to cannabis proper, the presidential hopeful has stayed relatively mum on the subject, suggesting that it is unlikely that it will be a major concern during his campaign.
Still, the candidate has not been squeamish from accepting money from donors who openly call for marijuana legalization, such as philanthropist and fragrance company heir Henry van Ameringen. So, it could still prove to be a pet project for the candidate in the future.