What public statements have Colorado's candidates for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives made about marijuana, rescheduling and research? Here's our rundown.
U.S. Senate Candidates
Michael Bennet (D)
Incumbent Michael Bennet faces challenges from seven nominees from a variety of parties. Along with 27 other senators, Bennet wrote a letter to President Barack Obama asking for his assistance in removing the administrative barriers to scientific research on medical marijuana. "As states have attempted to expand access to medical treatments for their citizens, the federal government has a responsibility to act in a manner that allows patients to benefit from research on those treatments," the senators said. "Until we have comprehensive scientific research on the medical risks and benefits of cannabis and its derivatives, we will continue to debate this issue on the basis of outdated ideology instead of modern science."
Darryl Glenn (R)
At a May 12 debate against other Republicans running against incumbent Bennet, Darryl Glenn said he personally opposes marijuana legalization, but that states should be allowed to make it legal if they choose to do so. In a transcript published by the Northglenn Thornton Sentinel, Glenn highlighted his previous voting record to back up his stance. "As a city council member, I have always voted against this," he said. "As a county commissioner, I have always voted against this."
Lily Tang Williams (L)
Williams addressed the issue of marijuana in an interview with the Pueblo Chieftain and held true to the Libertarian credo of individual responsibility and personal freedom. "It's your business if you want to smoke a plant or drink; just don't let that behavior infringe on others' rights," she said, later adding that she herself has never smoked marijuana.
Arn Menconi (G), Dan Chapin (I), Paul Noel Fiorino (I) and Don Willoughby (Write-in) have not addressed marijuana in their campaigns or interviews.
Keep reading for more information on how the candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives view marijuana.
U.S. House of Representatives Candidates
Diana DeGette (D)
Incumbent DeGette supports the rescheduling of marijuana and marijuana research. In 2015, DeGette proposed a bill that would have amended the Controlled Substances Act and allowed state marijuana laws to supersede inconsistent federal laws. The bill finally came up three years later as HR 964, but it never moved after being introduced.
Darrell Dinges (L)
According to his campaign's Facebook page, Darrell Dinges supports the decriminalization of marijuana. "Cannabis as a plant needs to be decriminalized under Federal law," the page reads.
Casper Stockham (R)
Stockham has not made any public statements about marijuana, and the issue is not on the issues page of his website.
Richard Longstreth (L)
While his campaign has not addressed marijuana specifically, Longstreth says he is against the War on Drugs, and it's listed as a main issue on his campaign's website. "Each individual should be able to make their own choices when it comes to consumption of substances," Longstreth's site reads. "Just as citizens are responsible enough to make choices about alcohol consumption, they ought to be able to make their own choices about other substances. It should not be the role of government to tell adults what is or is not safe or acceptable when it comes to their own bodies."
Jared Polis (D)
Incumbent Polis, an early critic of the War on Drugs, has actively fought to legalize marijuana. "Just as the policy of Prohibition failed nationally with alcohol — it's now up to states and counties — I think we should do the same with marijuana," he said. Polis is the leading sponsor of HR 499, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2013, which would decriminalize the possession of cannabis at the federal level.
Gaylon Kent (L)
While it doesn't address marijuana specifically, Kent's website does have a statement about drug legalization. "What we do in the privacy of our own home is our business, not the government's," his issues page reads. "Besides, all prohibiting drugs do is make criminals wealthy. By legalizing them, we will eliminate the violence associated with drugs." Kent does not specify which drugs he believes should be legal or if he supports legalizing all drugs, but it appears he would support the legalization of recreational marijuana at a national level.
Gail Schwartz (D)
On her website, Schwartz says she "will be a strong proponent for revising the federal prohibition against marijuana research and will support banking regulations for marijuana-related businesses." She previously served in the Colorado Senate and was part of the team that developed the business and regulatory framework for marijuana. If elected to Congress, she says she'll add her name to the senators who are advocating to reschedule marijuana from a Schedule One controlled substance.
Scott Tipton (R)
Incumbent Tipton has not made any public statements about marijuana, and it is not on the issues page of his website.
Ken Buck (R)
While marijuana is not mentioned on his website, Buck has spoken extensively on the issue. He worked closely with Smart Colorado on their campaign against Amendment 64. Buck's main opposition was that he believed the measure put profits before the people of Colorado.
Bruce Griffith (L)
While Griffith has a section on the War on Drugs on his campaign website, he does not mention marijuana or the legalization of cannabis. The site does say, however, that he would release all nonviolent drug offenders from prison and "end the criminalization of private behaviors," both of which apply to marijuana.
Bob Seay (D)
Seay has not made any public statements about marijuana, and it is not on the issues page of his website.
Doug Lamborn (R)
Incumbent Lamborn has not made any public statements about marijuana, and it is not on the issues page of his website.
Mike McRedmond (L)
While McRedmond has a section on the War on Drugs on his campaign website, he does not mention marijuana or the legalization of cannabis. His site does, however, have the same language as Griffith's, saying he would release all nonviolent drug offenders from prison and "end the criminalization of private behaviors."
Misty Plowright (D)
Plowright does not address marijuana specifically, but she does discuss her stance on the War on Drugs in the criminal-justice section of her website.
Morgan Carroll (D)
Carroll has not made any public statements about marijuana, and it is not on the platform page of her website.
Mike Coffman (R)
Coffman was against Amendment 64 but when voters chose to legalize recreational use of marijuana, said he respects Colorado's ballot process and ultimately supported DeGette's Respect States' and Citizens' Rights Act legislation in 2012. "I voted against Amendment 64 and I strongly oppose the legalization of marijuana, but I also have an obligation to respect the will of the voters given the passage of this initiative, and so I feel obligated to support this legislation," he said at the time.
Norm Olsen (L)
Olsen has not made any public statements about marijuana, and the issue is not listed on his website.
Robert Lee Worthey (G)
Worthey says he is a "firm supporter" of marijuana legalization and believes it should be legal federally. "Laws of prohibition only create underground industries of that which has been prohibited," he writes on his website.
George Athanasopoulos (R)
Athanasopoulos has not made any public statements about marijuana, and it is not listed on the issues page of his website.
Martin Buchanan (L)
Buchanan supports legalizing marijuana. "The drug war has not worked; legalizing marijuana nationwide will be a good first step," he writes on his campaign website.
Ed Perlmutter (D)
Perlmutter sponsored the Marijuana Business Access to Banking Act and cosponsored five other bills regarding marijuana. With Polis, he cosponsored H.R. 1013, Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol and H.R. 2598, the LUCID Act. Both would help tackle the issues around driving under the influence and training officers. He also cosponsored CARERS, Small Business Tax Equity, and the State Marihuana and Regulatory Tolerance Enforcement Act.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.