February 29, 2016

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard Is Progressive On Marijuana Policy

February 29, 2016
Tulsi Gabbard marijuana
Tulsi Gabbard marijuana
(image via Wikipedia)

I am a huge political nerd, and was long before I decided to study public policy in college. A lot of my friends are also political nerds, which comes with the territory I suppose growing up in Oregon’s capital city. Attending college with a bunch of other political nerds just added fuel to the fire in that regard. Presidential election years are particularly exciting for me and my friends. I get screen shots, tweets, and other messages on a daily basis about who said what, and people offering their opinions.

The big news over the weekend was the endorsement of Bernie Sanders by Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. Tulsi Gabbard had to resign her position as VP of the DNC in order to make the endorsement, so it was a very significant decision on her part. The resignation and endorsement have led many to speculate that Gabbard would become Bernie’s running mate if Bernie gets the nomination. That has in turn led many to speculate what kind of Vice President Congresswoman Gabbard would make when it comes to marijuana policy if that were to occur. My good friend Anthony Johnson gave a fantastic summary on Marijuana Politics yesterday:

On marijuana policy, Gabbard has voted the right way in Congress. She voted in favor of the successful Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment that prohibits any federal funds from being utilized to arrest and prosecute people acting in compliance with their state medical marijuana laws. She also voted for the McClintock Amendment, which failed 206-222, that would have defunded the DEA from interfering with states that have legalized adult-use marijuana. Unfortunately, DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz voted against both of these common sense provisions, putting herself out-of-step with the rest of her party.

Representative Gabbard, who knows combat first-hand, voted in favor of Earl Blumenauer’s Equal Access Amendment that would allow veterans to consult with their VA doctor about medical marijuana in states where medical use is legal. Unfortunately, the Equal Access Amendment failed210-213, with only 8 Democrats voting against the measure and 5 not voting; only 4 of those 13 Democrats were needed to help our military veterans. One of the 5 Democrats that didn’t vote on the Equal Access Amendment was DNC chair Wasserman Schultz. It is a disgrace that veterans who have fought and sacrificed for our nation, aren’t able to utilize medical cannabis in any state, let alone in states that have voted to allow medicinal use.

Only time will tell when it comes to Gabbard’s future in national politics. But I think that one thing is for sure – her future is bright. It’s important to know her policy stance on marijuana because it’s something that will come up a lot in the future I think. Her endorsement of Sanders is significant considering that she had to resign her position with the DNC to do so. It’s something that I will definitely be following going forward.

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