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Pro-Cannabis Candidates Ran In The Midterm Elections

By Roger Malespin

November 12th 2018 photo/istock/wildpixel

 We recently covered the 4 states with cannabis initiatives on the ballot for the midterms - Michigan, North Dakota, Utah, and Missouri - but not the candidates who could shape the status of cannabis. Today, we’ll take a closer look at 4 of the pro-marijuana candidates, 2 from those states and 2 from others, who ran on election day.

 First up is a candidate that we’ve covered before - Illinois Gubernatorial Candidate J.B. Pritzker. A venture capitalist and philanthropist, his family own the Hyatt Hotels chain and is worth $3.5 billion. Pritzker is a lifelong democrat, using his wealth to fund various social justice programs and youth voting registration. He is a candidate most in the community can get behind. He supports LGBT rights, immigration, net neutrality, and of course marijuana legalization. Pritzker says he wants to “reinvest in communities hit hardest by the war on drugs and the legacy of mass incarceration.” He also wants to “intentionally include black and brown entrepreneurs” in planning new dispensaries.

 Next is Michigan Attorney General candidate Dana Nessel. She has history as a highly effective prosecutor, and her campaign priorities include establishing greater inclusion in civil rights laws, protecting the environment, legalizing and regulating cannabis, and defending workers and labor unions. What makes this race important for cannabis in Michigan is that although medical marijuana was approved in 2016, the state has yet to license a single business. Nessel will no doubt see that this is corrected if elected, so any Michigan allies ought to cast their vote for her.

Over on the East Coast is Maryland gubernatorial candidate Alec Ross. He’s the former Secretary of Innovation adviser to Hillary Clinton when she was Secretary of State and a senior fellow at Columbia University. His expertise is in technology and projecting what innovations will be key to the economy in the near future. He’s a supporter of a legal cannabis industry not just because of its economic potential, but because of the social justice reforms needed. On the subject from his Twitter account, he says, “That’s why today I’m pushing us to legalize marijuana because it is the right thing to do. It provides joint benefits — social justice and economic opportunity.” He is currently lagging behind in the polls, so your help is needed on Tuesday.

 Lastly, there is Indiana House of Representatives candidate Liz Watson. She’s the youngest of the 4 and made her name as a labor attorney and advocate. She won the May primary and will face incumbent Trey Hollingsworth. While her position on legalization is tamer than others - she is for medical marijuana but less enthusiastic about recreational - the important part is that she has the potential to unseat an ardent Trump supporter who is backwards on every social issue that exists. She would add another voice to the choir of decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level. “We do not need the federal government restricting study into the medical uses of marijuana, Watson told Politico in February. “Federal law currently categorizes marijuana as a Schedule 1 narcotic, along with heroin, while oxycodone is Schedule 2. That makes no sense.”

Indiana is a historically red state with deep seeded racism and a serious lack of social progress, so even though Watson’s position may be lighter than some of us would like, she’s without question the best choice for the community.

Those are just some of the candidates for various offices that need your support this Tuesday. This is the most important election in history for issues surrounding cannabis. Your voice matters and is needed, so please make sure you get out and support those candidates pushing a pro legalization platform near you.