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Voter’s Guide: Three Senate Candidates Who Could Affect Marijuana Legalization

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Three Senate Candidates Who Could Affect Marijuana Legalization
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Just because Michigan (legal), Missouri (medical), North Dakota (legal), and Utah (medical) are the only states voting on statewide cannabis issues, that doesn’t mean marijuana reform isn’t on the ballot in all fifty states.

Earlier, we looked at three candidates for the US House, based on how NORML grades them on the issue of marijuana. Now let’s look at the important races for the US Senate that could affect the progress of ending federal marijuana prohibition.

No to Florida’s Rick Scott

Term-limited Florida Gov. Rick Scott is now seeking election to the US Senate against incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson, who received a “B” rating on NORML’s Senatorial Scorecard. Nelson’s still opposed to recreational legalization as of this summer, but he’s miles ahead of Scott on the issue of medical marijuana.

Scott (NORML: D+) has led the fight against access to smokable forms of medical marijuana for Florida patients. Florida voters passed their constitutional amendment with 71 percent of the vote. It clearly stated that smoking medical marijuana in public was not allowed, which implies that smoking it in private is allowed, according to a judge who has ruled against Scott. Even after spending nearly $2 million in taxpayer money to lose that case, his administration is still pressing forward with an appeal.

Yes to Nevada’s Jacky Rosen

One of the closest Senate races in the country is in Nevada between incumbent Republican Sen. Dean Heller and current Democratic Congresswoman Jacky Rosen. Heller (NORML: C) isn’t the worst Republican on marijuana in the Senate by a long shot (see Ted Cruz below). Heller has co-sponsored federal legislation to protect medical marijuana states and allow banks to work with legal marijuana businesses.

But Rosen (NORML: A) has been a marijuana champion in the House, co-sponsoring seven pro-marijuana bills in the last Congress. NORML PAC endorsed Rosen, who believes “marijuana should be removed as a Schedule 1 drug,” arguing that she will be “an unrelenting force demanding responsible marijuana policy.” Even though Nevada has already legalized marijuana, the bills she will co-sponsor will determine how well that legalization plays out.

Yes to Texas’ Beto O’Rourke

From his very first days in politics as an El Paso City Councilman, through his current position as US Congressman, Beto O’Rourke has been a leader in fighting for cannabis reform. NORML PAC endorsed O’Rourke, who is not only solid on the political issues of marijuana legalization, but also able to jam with Willie Nelson on his hit song, “Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die.”

The contrast between O’Rourke (NORML: A+) and his opponent, Sen. Ted Cruz (NORML: F) couldn’t be starker. Cruz opposes medical cannabis, thinks simple possession of marijuana should mean jail time, and is the 8th-largest recipient of campaign contributions from the private prison industry. Texas, if you boot Ted Cruz from the Senate, much of America (and, apparently, the Senate) will thank you.

No matter where you live, there is something or someone on your ballot worth voting for or against. Visit to learn who is on your ballot and how they feel about marijuana.

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