2020 Presidential Candidates on Marijuana

By Drug Enforcement and Policy Center Staff  |  Spring 2020


Marijuana legalization across the United States has evolved at a rapid pace over the past decade. Support for marijuana legalization has entered the mainstream in American politics; according to the Pew Research Center, 59% of the public support legalization of marijuana for recreational and medical use, and an additional 32% support legalization for only medical use. Given the saliency of this issue and the upcoming 2020 presidential election, the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center (DEPC) has created a guide to presidential candidates’ stances concerning the reform of federal marijuana laws.

As of March 3, 2020, also known as Super Tuesday, all 2020 presidential candidates still in the race had proposed, publicly voiced or otherwise indicated their support for some form of federal marijuana reform. As the guide highlights, marijuana reform is no longer solely about whether or not to support an end to federal prohibition, as different reform proposals seek in diverse ways to address criminal justice reform, social equity, financial access, and state autonomy.

DEPC, drawing from the candidates' public statements, policy proposals, and support for existing bills, has created an infographic to help illuminate the complexities of candidates’ policy positions on marijuana. The document is not intended to rate or grade each candidate; readers will have to decide for themselves whether the number or nature of policy provisions supported by a candidate is a virtue or a vice. Rather, we intend this document to highlight marijuana reform provisions garnering attention in the 2020 campaign and to help the public identify which candidates’ positions best map onto their own policy preferences regarding marijuana reform.

The document also incorporates a look at leading federal marijuana reform bills publicly supported by candidates during their campaigns. DEPC references the most recent versions of each bill, grouping Senate and House versions together where applicable. The infographic identifies which candidates publicly support each piece of legislation and which of the identified policy provisions are included in each.

The list of policy provisions included in the document is not meant to be exhaustive. Provisions were only included in this accounting if, at the time of release, more than one active candidate had voiced their support.
The document reflects stances of candidates who remained in the race as of March 3, 2020, also known as Super Tuesday.

Click or tap the infographic to view in detail and download.