Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke and his stance on marijuana legalization

Published May 16, 2019 10:17 a.m. ET
Beto O'Rourke by marcn (2019) Photo Attribution by

Now that Canada has had legal marijuana laws for almost seven months, much of the world is watching the United States for a similar shift in regulations. It seems almost childish to American cannabis consumers who are watching their neighbors smoke pot without fear of repercussion only a stone's throw away, while the US maintains it’s already proven to be an ineffective war on drugs. Fining, jailing, and slapping citizens with a criminal record for even the most minor possession offences.

With the next US election on the horizon, many Americans are looking to select a candidate who will best support their own beliefs, morals, and goals. With so many people now using and accepting marijuana, it makes sense that for many, a qualifying candidate would need to support a change in laws, and advocate for legal marijuana on a federal level. As of right now, there are only a handful of states that allow cannabis for medical purposes, and even fewer that condone dispensaries, or its use in anyway. Luckily, there are a few presidential candidates who are options this year that open back marijuana legalization and have the subject as part of their platform.

One of this year’s potentials is Beto O’Rourke, and he’s even stated marijuana facts as well as his opinions on the subject a part of his platform for election. Though O’Rourke may not be as well-known as some of the other candidates, his advocacy for cannabis goes back as far as 2009. When he sat on the City Council in El Paso Texas where he first garnered the attention of marijuana consumers. At that time, Beto sponsored a resolution that requested a nationwide debate on ending the prohibition of narcotics, citing the countries failure to decrease the number of war related deaths caused by gang members and drug cartels who sold them.

This long history goes further back than any other candidates and maintains a clear message that shows the wildly different worlds between legal marijuana, and the black-market industry. What is unique about O’Rourke’s vocal opposition to legal pot, is that he doesn’t want to merely legalize and regulate cannabis, as so many other regions like Canada have done. Instead, he insists that all narcotics, as well as pot, should be decriminalized and left in the hands of local businesses and consumers to establish.

In 20011 Beto alongside a friend and fellow council member Susie Byrd wrote and published a book focusing on their support for marijuana legalization titled, Dealing Death and Drugs: The Big Business of Dope in the U.S. and Mexico. He’s also supported several different cannabis policy reform bills from the position of a House Representative and is now using the hot topic as a way to get people talking about the many benefits that decriminalized substances could provide. Including less crime, fewer people in prison, and significantly better health outcomes for both dealers and consumers of these substances.

Though there are still plenty of Americans who highly disagree with O’Rourke’s ideal and plans of action which might end up costing him this election, for cannabis supporters and user’s, this shift in the number of candidates who are openly supporting marijuana legalization is certainly hopeful and shows a direct link between societal views and their impact on regional law. There are a few other pro-pot candidates, but none of them come remotely close to being as clearly dedicated to the cause as Beto himself. If he does succeed and become the President of the United States, there could be some pretty exciting changes on the horizon for the entire world. Only time will tell if Americans are truly ready to take a leap of faith and dive into this brand-new world and lucrative industry.


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