Marijuana-Friendly Gubernatorial Candidates Win Big In Tuesday’s Primaries

Marijuana-Friendly Gubernatorial Candidates Win Big In Tuesday’s Primaries

It was another big day for the marijuana legalization movement on Tuesday.

Voters in three out of four states that held primary elections nominated vocally pro-legalization Democratic candidates for governor.

From Vermont to Minnesota, all but one of the new Democratic gubernatorial nominees has gone on the record endorsing adult-use marijuana systems, and the fourth at least supports decriminalization and medical cannabis and wants a referendum on more broadly ending prohibition. As debates over the best direction for the party continue, it’s become increasingly apparent that cannabis reform is a winning issue for Democrats across the country.

Connecticut

Turning to Connecticut, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ned Lamont has called for a system to tax and regulate cannabis. Speaking at a senior living facility in July, the businessman and politician said legalization is “an idea whose time has come.”

Another resident of the facility chimed in, The CT Mirror reported: “And it’s not bad for you!” Lamont went on to tell the audience that marijuana is “not a gateway drug compared to opioids” and that he’d use revenue from a regulated system to fund opioid treatment programs in the state.

On the Republican side, Bob Stefanowski won the party’s gubernatorial nomination. At the final Republican primary debate earlier this month, the then-candidate admitted that he’s used cannabis—but he said more research was needed before the state, which already has medical cannabis and marijuana decriminalization, legalizes for adult-use.

Minnesota

Minnesota’s Democratic gubernatorial nominee, Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN), also ran on a pro-legalization platform. The state’s current marijuana policy has “failed,” and he pledged to implement a recreational cannabis system that “creates tax revenue, grows jobs, builds opportunities for Minnesotans, protects Minnesota kids, and trusts adults to make personal decisions based on their personal freedoms.”

During his time in Congress, Walz repeatedly raised the issue of legal access to cannabis for veterans.

Walz opponent, Republican gubernatorial primary winner Jeff Johnson, doesn’t back an adult-use system. In an interview with Minnesota Public Radio last month, Johnson said he remained concerned about the impact of legalization on “work productivity, safety on the roadways and reproductive health.”

Vermont

In Vermont, Christine Hallquist became the first transgender candidate to win a major party gubernatorial nomination. She told Heady Vermont that she’d “work with the legislature to ensure that a tax and regulate system was passed into law in my first term” in an interview earlier this month.

“I think that enough research has been done and enough systems implemented that I don’t really feel the need to dictate a specific system,” Hallquist said. “Rather, I believe it would be my job to work collaboratively with all stakeholders—legislators, interest groups, et cetera—to make sure the system is a reality.”

Hallquist will face off against incumbent governor, Phil Scott (R), who said he signed a law allowing adults 21 and older to possess and cultivate cannabis in January with “mixed feelings.” He’s since expressed reservations about expanding the state’s marijuana system, saying “[w]e’re not ready, I don’t believe, for a tax-and-regulate system at this point in time.”

He said the state wouldn’t be ready for legal cannabis sales until it addressed issues related to education, mental health and impaired driving on highways.

Wisconsin

The outlier in Tuesday’s primary race—at least when it comes to full legalization—was Wisconsin’s Democratic gubernatorial nominee, Tony Evers. He was the only major Democratic candidate for governor that didn’t back legalization, saying he’d like to see a state referendum on the issue first.

(Numerous counties in Wisconsin will vote on non-binding advisory questions about legalization in November—a move that may bolster lawmakers and whoever is elected governor to take marijuana reform seriously in 2019).

In February,Evers responded to a tweet saying that he’d push for decriminalizing marijuana possession as a means of improving living conditions for marginalized groups in the state.

Evers’s campaign website notes that he supports legalizing marijuana for medical use in Wisconsin.

“Tony believes it’s time for Wisconsin to join nearly 30 other states and the District of Columbia in legalizing medical marijuana. As a cancer survivor himself, Tony is all too familiar with the side effects of a major illness that can make everyday tasks, like making your bed or even showering, a challenge.”

The incumbent governor, Scott Walker, clinched the Republican nomination on Tuesday. He’s consistently opposed cannabis legalization for both medical and recreational purposes, and he believes that marijuana is a gateway drug.

See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:

Marijuana-Friendly Gubernatorial Candidates Win Big In Tuesday’s Primaries

Photo by Drew Taylor on Unsplash

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