All the Top Democrats Running for President Favor Legalizing Marijuana

“Marijuana legalization,” declared a Vox headline last month, “is winning the 2020 Democratic primaries.” A quick scan of the field indeed shows how far we’ve come since even 2011, when “Choom gang” alum Barack Obama was still cracking down on state-legal medical marijuana outfits and laughing off suggestions that prohibiting a popular, non-lethal plant was perhaps not the wisest public policy.

In fact, the top 11 highest-polling declared Democratic presidential candidates (plus a bunch in the lower tiers, notably Rep. Tulsi Gabbard [D–Hawaii]) have all backed some form of ending the federal prohibition of marijuana, fewer than four years after Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) became the first major-party candidate in history to do so. Several in fact have become legislative leaders on this issue, especially Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), plus former congressman Beto O’Rourke.

As popular opinion and state law speeds toward legalizing recreational weed, and a tough-on-crime Republican president frees prisoners and advances criminal justice reform, former drug warriors are scrambling to catch up with the times. The last holdout here may be still-undeclared candidate Joe Biden, who invented the office of the drug czar, spearheaded some of the very worst criminal justice laws of the past four decades, and said while vice president that legalization is a “mistake” because marijuana is a “gateway drug.”

Still, as senior editor and longtime drug policy journalist Jacob Sullum told Nick Gillespie on Wednesday’s Reason Podcast, virtually all major-party presidential candidates this year are pretty damned good on pot legalization. This not only is unprecedented, it was also unthinkable very recently.

So with a big assist from our friends at Marijuana Moment, and taking advantage of Reason‘s new-and-improved search engine, here’s a survey of post positions among the highest-polling Democrats to declare:

1) Bernie Sanders

Legalize it!: Sanders in October 2015 became the first major-party presidential candidate to come out in favor of legalizing marijuana. Since

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