With 39 races for governor in US states and territories in 2018, the position on marijuana legislation was a hot topic in numerous locations. Surprisingly, the number of candidates that clearly showed support for legalization and made no bones about their stance during their campaign efforts was higher than ever.
Statistics showed that candidates on the Democratic side of the ticket were more likely to voice support for legalizing marijuana, at minimum for medicinal use. Races in California, Georgia, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and New Mexico each saw Democratic candidates clearly show their support for some form of legalization for marijuana.
Democratic incumbents Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo both have been hard at work showing their support of certain legalization measures. Gov. Cuomo made an abrupt about-face during 2018, going from strong vehemence against legalization to the move to hold various listening sessions to hear what the state’s residents had to say.
Gov. Wolf supports decriminalization of marijuana possession, per his statements, and also has signed medical cannabis legislation. Wolf still feels the state has some adjusting to do before recreational use of marijuana can be legalized.
Rhode Island incumbent Gov. Gina Raimondo is another Democrat who is considering the merits of legalizing marijuana and won the race on Nov. 6, despite other candidates supporting the idea of marijuana legalization as well.
Meanwhile, newly elected Tennessee Governor Bill Lee seems to be in the minority with his stance on marijuana reform. Gov. Lee’s platform while running for governor noted that CBD oil and other marijuana-related products needed to be examined carefully for issues. Meanwhile, Lee’s stance on legalization was that his position would be based on the advice of medical personnel and law enforcement officials, thereby sidestepping his administration’s position on the topic.
With Lee’s focus elsewhere and his background as a businessman, the move to legalize marijuana may take a back seat to other issues for Tennessee in the future, leaving citizens waiting for the legislation they support because they elected a governor that does not.
The prevalence of candidates supporting marijuana legalization in the states that have not yet made concerted efforts to do so strongly reflects the opinions of the people, showing just how serious Americans are about support of marijuana reform.