The United States has been riding a wave of cannabis decriminalization over the last decade or so, but the country is far from a pot-lover’s paradise. Sure, about one-fifth of Americans have access to legal, recreational weed, but that still leaves 80 percent of the country’s citizens living in a 1950s hell.
But you can’t just hide on your couch and hope things change for the better – this is the United States of America, and you have a political voice. Use it by supporting marijuana-friendly legislators and other elected officials (city council members, state representatives, governors and district attorneys, sheriffs and judges when they are elected into office) each and every time you get a chance to walk into the ballot booth.
You’ll have to do your own research to find the most pro-pot legislators in your specific district, but these three weed-friendly legislators maintain a relatively high national profile and deserve your support.
Ted Lieu (D) California
Ted Lieu is a relative newcomer to the national political scene, but he is already turning heads with his cannabis-friendly stances. Elected to the House of Representatives in 2015, Lieu has sponsored one significant piece of pro-marijuana legislation (H.R. 3518 Stop Civil Asset Forfeiture Funding for Marijuana Suppression Act of 2015) and has co-sponsored six others.
Lieu has called the DEA’s attempts to eradicate marijuana use in the United States a “huge waste” of federal resources. NORML has given Lieu an A+ grade for his efforts. Reach out to congressman Lieu here, at his official government website.
Jared Polis (D) Colorado
Representative of Colorado’s 2nd District since 2009, congressman Jared Polis is a staunchly pro-cannabis legislator, with a history of voting for pro-marijuana legislation. In 2015, Polis sponsored H.R. 1013: Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol Act. Polis is a vocal critic of the War on Drugs, having stated, “Just as the policy of prohibition failed nationally with alcohol – it’s now up to states and counties – I think we should do the same with marijuana.”
Polis has also used his position to publicly ask difficult questions of DEA employees, such as administrator Michael Leonhart. During a congressional hearing, Polis asked Leonhart about re-scheduling marijuana, as it was clearly not as dangerous as many other Schedule I drugs. Contact representative Polis here, on his official government website.
Bernie Sanders (I) Vermont
Although perhaps most famous for his economic policies and positions, which were an important part of his 2016 presidential campaign platform, Bernie Sanders is one of the best friends legal cannabis has in all of Washington. One of the only senators in the entire country to earn an A+ grade from NORML, Sanders sponsored S.2237: Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2015, and has co-sponsored two other marijuana-friendly bills in his time in the senate.
Sanders has said a variety of things that have been cheered by the pro-pot community, but one of his most supportive statement came in April of 2016, when he said “We can argue about the science and the pluses and minuses about marijuana, but everybody knows marijuana is not a killer drug like heroin,” Sanders said, to cheers from supporters. It should not be a federal crime.” Contact Senator Sanders at his official government website, here.