Can Elizabeth Warren’s Stance on Cannabis Win Voters?


Oct. 23 2019, Published 9:06 a.m. ET

Cannabis legalization has emerged as one of the key issues in the 2020 presidential campaign. Elizabeth Warren is one of the Democratic candidates supporting the legalization of cannabis at the federal level. A Massachusetts senator since 2013, Warren officially announced her nomination on February 9. She is a former professor at Harvard Law School.

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Elizabeth Warren’s stance on cannabis

Warren actively supports cannabis legalization, as reflected in her June 6 tweet. At the CNN Town Hall meeting in April, Warren said, “So, actually, I supported Massachusetts changing its laws on marijuana. Massachusetts had decriminalized at that point and I thought it made a lot more sense for Massachusetts to go ahead and legalize marijuana, and I now support the legalization of marijuana.”

Warren identified racial disparities in the enforcement of marijuana law as one of the reasons for her belief that the substance should be legalized.

Her statement addressed a student’s question, noting that her views on marijuana legalization have changed since she opposed it in 2012. The student added that as a senator, Warren opposed the Massachusetts initiative for marijuana legalization in 2013 but supported it in 2016.

According to a June 1 New York Times fact-check article, Warren “slightly overstated” her past stance at the CNN Town Hall meeting. According to the report, Warren supported medical marijuana but opposed marijuana legalization during an October 2011 Democratic senate primary debate.

Warren’s stance on cannabis has evolved over the years. In 2016, Warren stated that she was open to the idea of legalizing marijuana in Massachusetts.

This February, Warren co-sponsored the Marijuana Justice Act of 2019. Warren and Senator Cory Gardner introduced the STATES (Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States) Act in June 2018. Reintroduced in April 2019, the STATES Act aims to amend the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 and would allow states to regulate marijuana without federal interference.

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Growing support for cannabis legalization

In addition to Warren, several other presidential candidates favor cannabis legalization. Andrew Yang, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, and Pete Buttigieg all support cannabis legalization at the federal level.

The opinion of these candidates could have been influenced by the rise in the number of Americans favoring marijuana legalization. Currently, marijuana is legal in ten states and Washington, DC, for recreational purposes. Also, medical marijuana is legal in 33 US states and Washington, DC.

Cannabis companies to benefit from legalization

Leading cannabis companies such as Curaleaf, Canopy Growth, Tilray, and Aurora Cannabis would benefit significantly from cannabis legalization. Already, many companies are seeking growth prospects in hemp, which was legalized in the 2018 Farm Bill.

In March 2019, Canopy Growth (WEED) (CGC) acquired AgriNextUSA to accelerate its expansion plans in the US. Plus, the company is investing in its hemp operations to produce high-quality CBD products.

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During its first-quarter conference call, Canopy Growth disclosed that it has thousands of acres of hemp planted in the US and that it has obtained hemp biomass and processing capabilities. These facilities would support the production of CBD products, which Canopy Growth plans to launch by the end of the year.

In August, Aurora Cannabis (ACB) completed the acquisition of Hempco Food and Fiber to support the company’s growth plans into the US hemp food and hemp CBD markets.

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Curaleaf (CURLF) is strengthening its position in the US with the pending acquisitions of Select and Grassroots.

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In early August, Tilray (TLRY) was granted approval to import cannabis into the US for conducting two clinical trials. Tilray is collaborating with the NYU School of Medicine to conduct these trials related to CBD (cannabidiol).

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Overall, these companies might accelerate their expansion in the US if marijuana is legalized at the federal level.


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