As the 2018 Congressional Primary season gets underway, you might be wondering where Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) stands on cannabis legalization. The Keystone State's senior senator will surely highlight his history of working to create well-paying jobs, protecting Americans, and holding the government accountable to its constituents as he seeks re-election this fall.
Robert Patrick "Bob" Casey Jr. was an attorney in his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, before going on to serve as Pennsylvania Auditor General (1997-2005) and Pennsylvania State Treasurer (2005-2007). Casey won a state Senate election in 2006, defeating Republican incumbent Rick Santorum, and has held the seat since 2007.
While Senator Casey has been quite vocal about his stance on a number of issues, he hasn't made it abundantly clear where he stands on cannabis legalization. Senator Casey hasn't offered an outright endorsement or condemnation of federal cannabis legalization, and he hasn't voted on a major piece of legislation on the subject, but he has shown support for allowing states to regulate cannabis. For example, he was a sponsor of the Stopping Unfair Collateral Consequences from Ending Student Success (SUCCESS) Act of 2016 and a co-sponsor of the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015.
He also took issue with the recent decision of Attorney General Jeff Sessions to repeal the Obama-era “Cole Memo” that offered consumers and businesses protection in states where marijuana is legal in some form. Expressing concern the decision's impact on patients in Pennsylvanians who use medicinal cannabis, he said:
"Bureaucrats in Washington should not interfere with the medical care these patients are receiving...Given the unprecedented opioid crisis, the Department of Justice should focus its resources on targeting violent drug dealers and criminal gangs, not individuals operating under doctors' instructions. States should be given the flexibility to determine the best policy for their communities."
Our Grade: B-
His defense of existing marijuana laws is commendable, but he could definitely be more vocal about where he stands on cannabis legalization in general; he doesn't even address it as an issue on his official website, despite it being such a hot topic in American politics.