Here’s Where Presidential Candidate Julián Castro Stands on Cannabis
The race for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination for 2020 is heating up as Julián Castro officially entered the contest earlier today. Castro — who served as Housing and Urban Development Secretary for President Obama — is a self-described underdog who intends to speak up for other overlooked Americans while on the campaign trail.
“I am not a frontrunner in this race, but I have not been a frontrunner at any time in my life,” Castro said during his announcement earlier today in San Antonio. “I am going to go speak to them in a way that resonates with them.”
But do those overlooked Americans include the millions of cannabis consumers who could face prosecution if the federal government launches a crackdown on states that have legalized recreational or medical marijuana use? It’s tough to say if Castro will support cannabis legalization during his presidential bid, but he certainly won’t be supporting the status quo either.
In 2017, Castro slammed former Attorney General Jeff Sessions for threatening to prosecute states that have defied federal cannabis prohibition. “The White House may crack down on recreational marijuana use — even in states where voters have approved it,” Castro wrote on Facebook back in February of 2017. “That’s a mistake.”
Instead of throwing patients and budtenders in jail, Castro urged the Trump administration to respect the rights of states and focus on more pressing issues facing the American justice system.
“The federal government should focus its resources on more serious crimes,” he wrote. “Not only that, growing evidence from Colorado and other states suggests we can sensibly legalize marijuana use with reasonable controls in place,” he said. “State voters should have that power.”
So Castro supports the idea of letting individual states determine their own marijuana laws, and he seems quite receptive to the social benefits of cannabis legalization. But he doesn’t partake in cannabis himself. In his 2018 memoir ‘My Unlikely Journey,’ Castro revealed that he isn’t much of a partier, but he did enjoy the company of a Jeff Spicoli clone in college, so he isn’t judgmental about people who enjoy having a drink or a joint.
So we shouldn’t expect Castro to make cannabis legalization a central part of his campaign, but we should expect him to respect the gains made by the movement thus far and in the foreseeable future.