AP Pot Team Reports Prez Hopefuls Lean Toward Legalization

One of the oldest and most trusted news organizations has a “marijuana beat team.” 

The Associated Press has reporters not just covering the arrests and pot confiscations nationwide, but also reporting on the blooming legal industry in more and more states. Team member Michael R. Blood’s most recent report, with two other AP reporters, discussed the growing number of Democratic presidential candidates who support pot legalization. 

For example, the AP reported, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-CA, a former criminal prosecutor, said legalization is a “smart” thing to do.  

In a radio interview, Harris said she smoked pot in college. She was a supporter of medical marijuana, but in 2010, when she was elected state attorney general, she opposed an initiative to legalize pot. 

Declared presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., says the war on drugs was a “war on people.” He has introduced a federal pot legalization bill. 

Presidential candidates in the Senate who have co-sponsored Booker’s bill include Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Harris. 

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., backs legalization and wants states to decide how to deal with marijuana. She hasn’t backed Booker’s bill. 

When Democrat Jay Inslee, governor of Washington state, entered the presidential race he said it’s “about time” to legalize pot. 

Former punk rocker congressman Beto O’Rourke in Texas has not officially entered the race, as some think he might, but is in favor of national pot legalization. 

Former President Barack Obama once said about smoking pot, “When I was a kid, I inhaled. Frequently. That was the point.” Contrast that with former President Bill Clinton who said he smoked it, but didn’t inhale. (It appears he still hasn’t exhaled.) 

On the fence is former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who was in office when his state legalized recreational pot use, even though he opposed it in 2012. 

While he said he accepted the voters’ will, Hickenlooper considers the system better than when the drug was illegal. He wants pot to no longer be a federal Schedule 1 controlled substance so it can be studied. 

For more from the AP marijuana team, see https://apnews.com/Marijuana 

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