The record number of 2020 Democratic contenders for U.S. president may be divided on a host of issues, but on marijuana legalization, most... 2020 candidates pushing pot legalization on campaign trail

The record number of 2020 Democratic contenders for U.S. president may be divided on a host of issues, but on marijuana legalization, most find themselves on the same page.

But how they parse it, and how far they’re willing to go, varies somewhat.

“I think what we’re seeing in 2020 is that this is becoming a litmus test in the Democratic primaries as all of these different candidates are competing to be perceived as the most progressive candidate. This question is going to be one of those tests that the progressive activists use to decide who is truly most progressive,” said Emily Ekins, research fellow and director of polling at The Cato Institute.

A Quinnipiac University poll last month found 60 percent of registered voters think marijuana should be legal in the United States. And, a few percentage points more from the same poll, 63 percent, are in favor of erasing criminal records for marijuana possession.

Campaigning in New Hampshire this past weekend, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg said: “it’s such a mess,” the country has created a “weird patchwork.” He pointed out a lot of people are in prison for non-violent offenses and “everything about the way this has been handled is wrong…. states are leading the way but the federal government needs to do the same.”

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