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Here’s Where Presidential Candidate Kirsten Gillibrand Stands on Cannabis

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With primary season just over a year away, every day seems to bring a new contender for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2020. Today, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced her candidacy to be the 46th US president. Since joining the Senate in 2009, Gillibrand has made a name for herself by fighting for the rights of sexual-assault survivors and for opposing cannabis prohibition.

Last February, Gillibrand made waves by co-sponsoring The Marijuana Justice Act — a legalization bill introduced by New Jersey Senator Cory Booker (D). Gillibrand hailed the bill as a way to overcome years of racial injustice perpetrated by the War on Drugs and to prevent marijuana prohibition from ruining the lives of young Americans.

Just one minor possession conviction could take away a lifetime of opportunities for jobs, education, and housing, tear families apart, and make people more vulnerable to serving time in jail or prison down the road,” Senator Gillibrand said in a statement. The reality that my 14-year-old son would likely be treated very differently from one of his Black or Latino peers if he was caught with marijuana is shameful. Legalizing marijuana is a social justice issue and a moral issue that Congress needs to address, and I’m proud to work with Senator Booker on this legislation to help fix decades of injustice caused by our nation’s failed drug policies.”

Less than two weeks later, Senator Gillibrand spoke out in favor of medical marijuana patients across the country by accusing Big Pharma of obstructing efforts to legalize medical cannabis.

To them it’s competition for chronic pain, and that’s outrageous because we don’t have the crisis in people who take marijuana for chronic pain having overdose issues,” Gillibrand said during an appearance on Good Day New York. It’s not the same thing. It’s not as highly addictive as opioids are.”

When asked if she thought cannabis was a gateway drug’ that led to abusing harder substances like heroin, Gillibrand shot down the notion and stressed that Americans should be less worried about marijuana and more concerned about legal opioids. 

I don’t see it as a gateway to opioids,” she said. What I see is the opioid industry and the drug companies that manufacture it, some of them in particular, are just trying to sell more drugs that addict patients and addict people across this country.”

Check out the video of Senator Gillibrand’s announcement from last night’s episode of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’: 

Banner Image: Astrid Stawiarz / Stringer

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