For the first time ever, all of the 2020 presidential candidates are pro cannabis
The Drug War isn't over, but the Drugs are winning
Every politician in the race for president vows to keep marijuana as free as it is, or loosen rules further.
The old socialist. The smart lady who wants to break up the banks. That handsome lady with the first name you're not quite sure how to pronounce. The cool-looking bald-headed dude.
And even the Trumpster himself. All of them.
"They recognize there is a lot to gain and not a whole lot to lose," says Mason Tvert, one of the activists most responsible for legal weed in Colorado, and now a vice president at VS Strategies, a public affairs consulting firm affiliated with the law firm Vicente Sederberg.
Politicians do what The People want, and The People want their weed. Three in every five Americans back legalization, Pew says, twice as many as in 2000.
And so, now, the support from candidates is solid; half the presidential candidates might as well be walking around with a joint tucked behind their ears.
Senator Cory Booker is Washington's biggest and most aggressive dealer of marijuana ... bills. Senator Elizabeth Warren sponsored six weed-friendly bills herself. Senator Bernie Sanders seems to have come up with his platform and his hairdo while he was high — and that's a compliment. Senator Kamala Harris said the herb is practically kin: "Half my family's from Jamaica, are you kidding me?" The used-to-be-governor of Colorado, Hickenlooper is on board the Weed Freedom Train, along with a few other suit-wearing fancy pantsers that look like the kind of PTA presidents who would've sent stoners to detention, including Senators named Kirsten Gillibrand and Amy Klobuchar. Joe Biden is super cool. How could he be against weed?
And the almost-certain Republican candidate, President Trump, said he'll "probably" continue to support states' rights. Only if Trump falls down a well could you have an anti-weed candidate, as he'd be replaced by Mike Pence, whose religion prohibits fun in all forms.
"In the 2020 presidential election, support for legalization is now a requirement and defending prohibition is outright disqualifying," said Erik Altieri, executive director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).
This is happening mostly because ten states have legal adult-use weed, and 33 have medical.
"We've seen a shift within the states, and so now that more states are legalizing, and it's proving cannabis is helpful, it's hard for politicians to shift back toward propaganda," said Ashley Weber, executive director for NORML in Colorado.
This shift in mainstream opinion on a formerly demonized plant is one of the biggest changes in American political history, and means weed will almost certainly be unshackled soon. Weed will be legal within five years. To fully appreciate this earthquake, let's quickly examine the before times.
Prior to Colorado legalizing weed in 2012, basically zero politicians were willing to touch the sticky-icky stuff, rhetorically speaking, except a few of the fringier ones.
"Most presidential candidates either opposed legalization or shied away from expressing support," said Tvert.
Some of them were openly anti-weed.
Kamala Harris, as a prosecutor in California, used to jail marijuana dealers, because her campaign manager said "she believes that drug selling harms communities." (Even the Jamaican ones.)
Joe Biden was once a prime mover in the Drug War, attacking innocent plants and powders like they insulted his mother, but now says that was a "big mistake."
And most other candidates, from Warren to Klobuchar, were either silent or anti. Trump wavered from the get-go.
Today, all of these folks have come around.
"Better late than never," said Tvert.