Nationwide polls show that a slim majority of Americans want to legalize pot for any purpose. Seventy-five percent believe that marijuana legalization is inevitable, according to a Pew Research Center survey in 2014. However, few politicians on the national scene are actively leading the fight to make marijuana legal in their home states or at the federal level.
Most political support is for limited medical use. Others have done their part for the cannabis cause by supporting rules to require the federal government not prosecute individuals using marijuana per their state's rules. Here are 10 politicians who have at least partially supported legal marijuana or states' rights around pot:
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1. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon)
The Oregon representative introduced the Marijuana Tax Revenue Act
, which would create a federal excise tax for recreational marijuana.
2. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colorado)
The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act
, named after the alternative name for Colorado's Amendment 64, was introduced in February to remove marijuana from the controlled substances list.
3. Sen. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey)
Booker sponsored an amendment
to keep the Department of Justice from spending any money fighting medical marijuana proliferation in the 19 states that currently allow it in some form.
4. Lt Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-California)
The California politician spoke in early 2014 about supporting legalization as a way to reduce racial disparity. “Once and for all, it's time we realize that the war on drugs is nothing more than a war on communities of color and on the poor,” Newsom said in the speech
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5. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts)
While the senator opposes outright legalization for recreational use, she has said she supports medical use for diseases such as cancer, AIDS and multiple sclerosis.
6. Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada)
Reid told the Las Vegas Sun that his position on legalized pot was evolving
to embrace medical marijuana.
7. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-California)
Lee, member of the Appropriation and Budget Committees, co-sponsored the 2014 amendment to prohibit Dept. of Justice funds from prosecuting medical marijuana
8. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tennessee)
In a speech on the House floor, Cohen said, “It is ludicrous, absurd, crazy to have marijuana at the same level as heroin
. Ask the late Philip Seymour Hoffman if you could. Nobody dies from marijuana. People die from heroin,” Cohen said.
9. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky)
Paul introduced the Senate version of the DOJ amendment to shield marijuana states. He also took fellow GOP presidential hopeful Jeb Bush to task for opposing legalization in Florida while admitting he used pot in college
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10. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon)
Markley said in 2014 that he voted in favor of Oregon's state-wide ballot initiative to legalize marijuana
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