Michael Bennet on Drugs
Democratic Presidential Challenger; CO Senator
Supports medical and recreational marijuana
Source: Cannabis Voter Project report on 2020 candidates
, Jul 2, 2019
- Allow Cannabis Businesses To Use Banks
- Allow VA Doctors To Recommend Medical Cannabis
- Allow States To Legalize Medical Cannabis
- Allow States To Legalize Recreational Cannabis
- End Cannabis Prohibition At Federal Level
the Marijuana Justice Act of 2019, which would end cannabis prohibition at the federal level, expunge federal cannabis convictions, reinvest in the communities that have been most harmed by cannabis prohibition, and penalize states that continue to
disproportionately arrest people of color and low-income individuals for cannabis-related crimes.
- Cosponsors the SAFE Banking Act of 2019, which would allow banks to work with cannabis businesses that are legal at the state level. (2019)
Cosponsors the STATES Act of 2019, which would prevent the federal government from interfering with cannabis policy at the state level.
- Signed a letter urging the Senate Appropriations Committee to respect state cannabis laws. (2018)
Marijuana Justice Act: decriminalize pot & expunge records
Legalizing marijuana is an issue that has seen a steady uptick in support over the years. Fifteen states have decriminalized marijuana while 10 others and the District of Columbia have legalized the drug, according to the Marijuana Policy Project.
Many in the Democratic presidential primary field have issued full-throated support for legalizing the drug on the federal level. Earlier this year, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) reintroduced the Marijuana Justice Act, which would legalize marijuana on the
federal level and expunge the records of those who have been charged with a crime for using or possessing the drug. Several Democratic presidential contenders have signed on as cosponsors of the measure: Sens. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Kirsten Gillibrand
(D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro are among the candidates that have also signaled support for legalization efforts.
Source: Denver CBS Local on 2020 Democratic presidential primary
, May 16, 2019
Sponsored bill to end Federal ban on marijuana
Bennet sponsored a bill in
February to "End Federal Prohibition of Marijuana."
Source: Axios.com "What you need to know about 2020"
, May 2, 2019
Let states experiment with marijuana; address racial issues
What we're having right now is a tremendous experiment in federalism, and that's what we should continue to do. The states should look at this and ultimately we should decide as a country what we want to do, but I don't know that we're there yet.
I think the sentencing disparities suggest important issues that have to be addressed.
Source: The Atlantic, "Immigration," on 2020 Democratic primary
, Jan 24, 2018
Sponsored bill for TV ads to prevent teenage meth use.
Bennet sponsored S.3278 & H.R.5916
Authorizes matching grants to states, local government, or private nonprofit organizations to establish the Meth Project Prevention Campaign, which shall be aimed at teenagers. Authorizes the use of grant funds for:
- television, radio, Internet, and print advertisements and educational materials;
- community outreach to motivate community involvement in methamphetamine education;
- a benchmark survey and periodic studies of attitudes and behaviors related to methamphetamine ; and
- qualitative research to assist in the development and testing of Campaign messaging and the effectiveness of methamphetamine education.
Congress finds that--
Source: Meth Project Prevention Campaign Grant Program Act 10-HR5916 on Apr 29, 2010
- methamphetamine is a leading drug threat to the US
- crime related to methamphetamine abuse continues to increase
- methamphetamine laboratories pose a dangerous threat in terms of toxicity, severe environmental and property damage, violence, and public safety
24% of teens nationally report it would be easy or somewhat easy to obtain methamphetamine
- 33% of teens believe there is only slight or no risk to trying methamphetamines once or twice
- the annual economic burden of methamphetamine use in the US is estimated at between $16,200,000,000 and $48,300,000,000 annually; and
- there are currently no particular pharmacological treatments for dependence on methamphetamine.
Rated B+ by NORML, indicating a pro-drug-reform stance.
Bennet scores B+ by the NORML on drug reform
OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2016 NORML scores as follows:
About NORML (from their website, www.norml.org):
- C-/D/F: "hard-on-drugs" stance (approx. 243 members)
- C: mixed record on drug reform (approx. 45 members)
- A/B: pro-drug-reform stance (approx. 293 members)
National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law's mission is to move public opinion sufficiently to achieve the repeal of marijuana prohibition so that the responsible use of cannabis by adults is no longer subject to penalty.
NORML is a nonprofit, public-interest lobby that for more than 30 years has provided a voice for those Americans who oppose marijuana prohibition. We represent the interests of the tens of millions of Americans who smoke marijuana responsibly and believe the recreational and medicinal use of marijuana should no longer be a crime.
NORML supports the removal of all criminal penalties for the private possession
& responsible use of marijuana by adults, including the cultivation for personal use, and the casual nonprofit transfers of small amounts. This model is called "decriminalization."
NORML additionally supports the development of a legally controlled market for marijuana, where consumers could purchase it from a safe, legal and regulated source. This model is referred to as "legalization."
NORML believes that marijuana smoking is not for kids and should only be used responsibly by adults. As with alcohol consumption, it must never be an excuse for misconduct or other bad behavior. Driving or operating heavy equipment while impaired from marijuana should be prohibited.
NORML strongly supports the right of patients to use marijuana as a medicine when their physician recommends it to relieve pain and suffering.
Lastly, NORML supports the right of farmers to commercially cultivate hemp for industrial purposes, such as food and fiber production.
Source: NORML website 16_NORML on Nov 8, 2016
Immunity for banks offering services to marijuana businesses.
Bennet signed immunity for banks offering services to marijuana businesses
Congressional Summary:This bill provides a safe harbor for depository institutions providing financial services to a marijuana-related legitimate business insofar as it prohibits a federal banking regulator from:
Immunity from federal criminal prosecution or investigation is granted, subject to certain conditions, to a depository institution that provides financial services to a marijuana-related legitimate business in a state or one of its political subdivisions that allows the cultivation, production, manufacture, sale, transportation, display, dispensing, distribution, or purchase of marijuana.
- terminating or limiting the deposit or share insurance of a depository institution solely because it provides financial services to a marijuana-related legitimate business; or
- prohibiting, penalizing, or otherwise discouraging a depository institution from offering such services.
Argument in Favor:
[Cato Institute, March 31, 2016]: Marijuana is now legal under the laws of [several] states, but not under federal law. And this creates huge headaches for marijuana businesses:
Source: Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act 16-S1726 on Apr 28, 2015
- Two years after Colorado fully legalized the sale of marijuana, most banks here still don't offer services to the businesses involved.
- Financial institutions are caught between state law that has legalized marijuana and federal law that bans it. Banks' federal regulators don't fully recognize such businesses and impose onerous reporting requirements on banks that deal with them.
- Without bank accounts, the burgeoning pot sector can't accept credit or debit cards from customers.
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Page last updated: Jul 16, 2020