With the majority of Americans now supporting marijuana legalization, and with legalization being a key component of broader criminal justice reform — a top issue among voters — primary constituents want to hear where candidates stand on our issue.
As MPP’s director of federal policies, I am currently on the ground for primary week in New Hampshire, attending campaign events and town halls all over the state and relentlessly pursuing the Democratic presidential hopefuls concerning their positions on cannabis.
From Claremont to Nashua, I am engaging with the candidates and working to raise the profile of marijuana policy reform in the presidential election. It’s important that we hold candidates accountable for their positions, and last week, I recorded a short conversation with Joe Biden in which the former vice president appeared to shift from his typical opposition to fully legalizing marijuana.
"I think it is at the point where it has to be, basically, legalized," Biden said in the recording, though it’s unclear whether the former vice president’s position on marijuana legalization has officially changed. You can hear the whole exchange, featured on Politico, here.
Although it sounded like Biden was on the verge of endorsing legalization (as all the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates have, Bloomberg excepted), he failed to clarify his position and ultimately, only made it more unclear. As I told Marijuana Moment, “it turned out to be a big nothing.”
At the conclusion of our taped dialogue, however, I urged Biden to raise the issue with the American electorate, discuss it on the debate stage, and address the conflict between state and federal marijuana laws.
These on-the-ground efforts are just one of the ways MPP is working to drive the conversation on federal marijuana policy, both nationally and locally. Help us continue these kinds of exchanges and keep injecting marijuana policy reform into the discussion by making a donation today.
— Don Murphy, Director of Federal Policies
Although he's staunchly opposed to legalization, Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R) wants the legislature to consider medical marijuana. For a bill to make it to Gov. Tony Evers' (D) desk, challenges would have to be overcome — such as Sen. Majority Leader Fitzgerald's opposition and securing the rank-and-file votes.
That's where you come in.
To have even more impact, give your state lawmakers a call. Or, better yet, if you or a loved one could benefit from medical cannabis, consider requesting an in-district meeting.
MPP's federal policies director — Don Murphy — was once a law-and-order Republican state lawmaker in Maryland. One day in 1999, a veteran with cancer sat down in Don's office and asked for his help. Don had never given medical marijuana much thought, much less considered sponsoring a bill. But Darrell Putman's plea changed everything, prompting Don to introduce the state's first medical marijuana bill, which laid the groundwork for Maryland's medical cannabis program.
Lawmakers are people, and we've seen honest, heartfelt pleas change minds in state after state. If this issue is personal to you, consider sharing your story with your legislators in person. Let us know if you need some guidance.
And please be sure to spread the word. Together, we can pass a compassionate medical cannabis law in Wisconsin.
This year, the National Cannabis Bar Association’s Second Annual Cannabis Law Institute will take place on September 7 and 8 in Washington, D.C. at the George Washington University Law School.
Featuring some of the nation’s leading attorneys, academics, and politicians, this event will convene the best minds and visionaries working in the cannabis industry and reform movement for two days of panels and discussion. Programming is focused on education for attorneys, and you can receive 11+ CLE credits for select jurisdictions. Evenings will feature networking events.
We’re excited to announce that MPP’s Deputy Director Matt Schweich will be moderating the panel discussion on Federalism & States’ Rights, which will also include MPP’s Director of Federal Policies, Don Murphy.
You’re invited to attend by registering here. Use the code “friendsofncba” to receive $200 off the full ticket price, and if you are a member of NCBA, you get an additional $100 off.
With over 60 speakers and panelists from organizations like the Brookings Institution, the National Cannabis Industry Association, Americans for Safe Access, and leading cannabis law firm Vicente Sederberg, the conference will address the most challenging areas of law as they relate to the cannabis industry, including banking, tax, finance, intellectual property, labor and employment, corporate governance, and more. Congressmen Earl Blumenauer of Oregon and David Joyce of Ohio will also be in attendance as part of the keynote conversation on Friday morning.
If you live in the D.C. metro area, you don’t want to miss this important event. We hope to see you there!