- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 23, 2019

Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota on Friday became the latest Democratic presidential hopeful to announce their support for legalizing marijuana.

“I support the legalization of marijuana and believe that states should have the right to determine the best approach to marijuana within their borders,” Ms. Klobuchar said in a statement.

One of several Democrats already seeking her party’s nomination to compete at the polls against President Trump in 2020, Ms. Klobuchar declared her support for legalizing marijuana in a statement sent to The Washington Post for an article about each candidate’s stance on the subject.

Marijuana is prohibited under federal law, though most states have passed legislation permitting its use for medicinal or recreational purposes.

Several politicians seeking the Democratic Party’s nod have previously said they support legalizing marijuana, including current frontrunners Sen. Cory Booker, New Jersey Democrat; Sen. Kamala Harris, California Democrat; Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, New York Democrat; Sen. Bernie Sanders, Vermont independent; and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Democrat.

Mr. Sanders filed a bill in 2015 aimed at ending federal marijuana prohibition, and he reiterated his support for legalization during his failed White House bid in 2016.

Mr. Booker, meanwhile, filed a broader bill in 2017, the Marijuana Justice Act, that would end federal prohibition in addition to expunging certain prior criminal conviction. Mr. Sanders, Ms. Harris, Ms. Gillibrand, Ms. Warren subsequently became co-sponsors of that bill in 2018.

Ms. Klobuchar had been hardly as vocal on the subject of marijuana legalization, however, and she is currently ranked worst among fellow leading 2020 presidential hopefuls on a scorecard maintained by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML, one of the country’s largest legalization advocacy groups. Ms. Klobuchar has received a “B” grade from NORML, while the group has assigned a grade of “A” or better to Mr. Booker, Ms. Harris, Ms. Gillibrand, Mr. Sanders and Ms. Warren.

Thirty-three states have passed laws legalizing the medicinal use of marijuana in the face of federal prohibition. Ten of those have additionally passed laws legalizing the recreational use of marijuana among adults, and seven of those have systems in place permitting licensed dispensaries to sell retail pot.

President Trump previously said he supports letting states decide whether or not to legalize marijuana.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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