The New Politics of Pot: The 2014 Candidates Who Want to Legalize It
After a round of victories at the ballot box, the spliff is trying its make case at the statehouse—and on the stump.
Advocates for marijuana legalization say the 2014 elections represent the first time that serious, top-tier candidates for major state and federal offices are advocating for full legalization of the drug. In Pennsylvania and Maryland, top contenders for the Democratic nomination for governor are calling for legalization, as is the likely Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate in Maine. And earlier this week, a legalization bill was introduced in the Legislature in New York, making the state the sixth with an active bill under consideration. Legalization bills failed in six other states in 2013.
“It shows there has been a big shift in mainstream politics. You are a seeing a lot of movement in the Democratic Party especially,” said Erik Altieri, the communications director of the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws and the manager of NORML PAC, which donated to three candidates last year and has already endorsed John Hanger, the Democratic candidate for governor of Pennsylvania who has made legalization a key part of his platform. “For Democrats in primaries, it has become an issue that sets you apart and gets you votes because there is overwhelming support for legalization. Soon enough politicians are going to be stumbling over themselves not only to support this but to say who supports it more.” Read more