As cannabis-law reform becomes an increasingly mainstream political issue, pro-legalization candidates are running for governor in several states.
Two states could elect governors who support reforming cannabis laws this November. In New Jersey, Democratic candidate Phil Murphy says he’ll legalize recreational marijuana if he wins the race to succeed Chris Christie. In Virginia, Democrat Ralph Northam has focused on marijuana decriminalization as a social-justice issue.
Several more will be running in other states next year. In Colorado, Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) announced in June that he would run for governor in 2018. Polis, currently serving his fifth term in the House, was one of the founding members of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus and has championed reforming cannabis laws.
In Colorado, Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) announced in June that he would run for governor in 2018. Polis, currently serving his fifth term in the House, was one of the founding members of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus and has championed reforming cannabis laws.
In California, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a vocal proponent of legalizing recreational marijuana last year, is running to succeed Jerry Brown. Newsom has already received more than $300,000 in donations from the cannabis industry. Some in the industry, however, fear that as it expands from medical to recreational use, Newsom will favor big companies over the small businesses that have historically served medical-marijuana patients.
In Maine, former state Rep. Diane Russell is one of eight Democrats who are hoping to succeed far-right Gov. Paul LePage in 2018. During her eight years in Maine’s House, the former Portland representative sponsored several marijuana-legalization bills, before Pine Tree State voters opted to legalize cannabis at the ballot box in 2016.
“As governor,” she says, “I’ll spend every day fighting to unrig the system and make Maine a place where everyone gets a fair shot.”
Todd Mitchem, former chief revenue officer for O.pen Vape and founder of the marijuana-focused social app High There!, is running for Polis’s seat in the House as a Libertarian. He’s never held public office.
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