As the United States midterm elections draw near, you may be wondering where Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) stands on cannabis legalization. Though she is often considered one of the most liberal members of Congress, Baldwin only openly supports medicinal marijuana, a stance that sits well with state constituents who have voted to keep the herb highly regulated to a strict set of medical conditions. However, she doesn't dismiss the economic benefits that allowing recreational cannabis affords other states, and she is sure to highlight her efforts to protect current cannabis legislation in all states where marijuana is legal in some form as she seeks re-election to a second term this fall.
Baldwin rose through Wisconsin's political ranks to represent Wisconsin's 2nd congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1998-2013, and in 2012, she became the first openly gay woman to be elected to Congress with her winning of a seat in the U.S. Senate.
When it comes to cannabis legislation, Baldwin has been a staunch protector of the progress made in the United States by marijuana advocates: she co-sponsored the 2001 States' Rights to Medical Marijuana Act (which prohibits the federal government from impeding a state's regulation and distribution of cannabis as allowed by that state's laws) and has written a slew of letters pushing for safeguards for existing cannabis legislation. Among those letters are:
- June 28, 2016: Letter to Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House, Mitch McConnell, Majority Leader, Harry Reid, Minority Leader, and Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader - Urging Congressional Leadership to Include Medical Marijuana Provisions in Funding Bill
- April 15, 2016: Letter to the Honorable Barack Obama, President of the United States - Call to Remove Barriers to Research on Medical Marijuana & Letter to Barack Obama, President of the United States - Medical Marijuana
- August 4, 2015: Letter to Members of the Senate - Join Effort to Provide Life-Saving Treatment to Epilepsy Patients
In April of this year, the junior Senator from the Badger State reiterated her position in a statement to VICE:
"I support the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes. I also believe the federal government should not interfere with states' decisions regarding the treatment of marijuana use for medical and recreational purposes.”
Our Grade: B+
We appreciate Sen. Baldwin's record of protecting patient's rights to medical cannabis, and we understand that there isn't a real push for her to embrace recreational marijuana from her Wisconsin constituents, so her defense of states rights in that area as well is a welcome bonus.