Meet The Most Progressive Republican Presidential Candidate On Cannabis

Super Tuesday confirms that the fight for the Republican presidential nomination is a three-horse race - with one of them way out in front. That's tough news for voters who are passionate about cannabis. Marco Rubio promises to enforce federal marijuana prohibition, while Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have both said they're personally against recreational use, but they won't prevent states from legalizing. So GOP supporters have to choose among lesser evils on this issue.

Or do they?

According to Howard Wooldridge - a retired police detective and founding member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) - one candidate is much more progressive on marijuana than his rivals.

"Ted Cruz is the best [Republican candidate] on the issue of marijuana and the Tenth Amendment," Wooldridge told Civilized.

For clarification, that's not an endorsement. As a 501c3, LEAP cannot declare support for political candidates. And Wooldridge isn't saying the Texas senator is the best candidate, period. But he did say Cruz outdoes the others, "on the narrow focus of drug reform, and what I work on in congress, which is to apply the Tenth Amendment to all drugs - starting with marijuana."

Activist tells politicians like Cruz: End prohibition

As an activist working in Congress, Wooldridge has spent the last decade asking representatives and senators if they would support ending federal prohibition of all drugs - beginning with marijuana. More specifically, Wooldridge and LEAP are working to get legislators to support bills that would allow states to decide the legality of marijuana through the Tenth Amendment:

"We are only looking for bills to apply the Tenth Amendment to marijuana policy.," he explained. "We don't say please legalize it. We don't say decriminalize it. Since 2008, our ultimate goal is to repeal federal prohibition."

That's because repealing federal prohibition would likely have a domino effect resulting in widespread legalization.

"There are probably two dozen states that would go Colorado [i.e. legalize, regulate and tax marijuana] if the government ended prohibition," he says. "In order to speed up the issue, we need to get the government out of the way and let the states do what they want."

Cruz said he would support ending prohibition

Two years ago, Wooldridge asked Senator Cruz if he would support a bill that would empower the states to decide the fate of cannabis:

"He said he would sign onto that type of legislation as a senator. He said he would apply the Tenth Amendment - to be perfectly accurate, which by implication means to repeal the 1937 law [that prohibited marijuana federally]."

Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has also said legalization should be a state-by-state issue. But there's a difference between letting states disregard federal law and empowering them to legalize marijuana. The federal government tolerates the legal marijuana market in Colorado and other states right now because the Obama administration decided not to interfere.

But no law protects those states if a U.S. Attorney or the DEA goes rogue and tries to enforce federal law in those states. Moreover, the Supreme Court of the United States could also overturn legalization, which might happen as a result of Nebraska and Oklahoma's lawsuit against Colorado.

However, legislators could protect Colorado and others from federal interference by passing a bill that specifically recognizes each state's right to decide the legality of marijuana. And on that issue, Senator Cruz is the most progressive, while Republican frontrunner Donald Trump's stance is almost the same as President Obama's.

Banner Image: Andrew Cline /


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