Prominent California Democrat Finally Evolves on Legal Marijuana

While many Democrats have embraced marijuana legalization in recent months, more senior members of the party's leadership have been reluctant to take on the issue. But one prominent Democrat is finally changing her tune.

Senator Dianne Feinstein of California says she no longer opposes legal marijuana. Despite serving as a senator for California, a state that legalized marijuana this year and had medical marijuana since the later 1990's, Feinstein often said she opposed expanding legalization. But apparently she's now evolved on the issue.

“Federal law enforcement agents should not arrest Californians who are adhering to California law,” Feinstein said in an interview on Tuesday. “My state has legalized marijuana for personal use, and as California continues to implement this law, we need to ensure we have strong safety rules to prevent impaired driving and youth access, similar to other public health issues like alcohol."

Feinstein said she changed her mind on the issue after meeting with constituents who argued in favor of marijuana legalization. However, it's not quite clear how far she's willing to go on the issue. When asked if she would vote for a bill that's currently being worked on by Colorado Republican Senator Cory Gardner that would protect legalized marijuana states, Feinstein said she'd need to see the bill first.

But Feinstein's evolution on marijuana is a good thing for pro-cannabis activists, particularly if Democrats are able to win back the Senate this November. Feinstein is the highest ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, meaning she'd have a lot of power over legislation. If she's actually committed to pro-marijuana legislation, that could be a major milestone for the movement.

(h/t Washington Post)

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