Democratic Governors Don’t Follow CO, WA In Seeking Marijuana Legalization


California voters strongly favor legalizing marijuana. The state Democratic Party urged California to follow Colorado and Washington in ending marijuana prohibition. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, has called for legalizing the drug. Not Gov. Jerry Brown, reports the New York Times. “I think we ought to kind of watch and see how things go in Colorado,” said Brown. At a time of rapidly evolving attitudes toward marijuana legalization — a slight majority of Americans support legalizing the drug — Democratic governors find themselves uncomfortably at odds with their own base. Even with Democrats and younger voters leading the wave of the pro-legalization shift, these governors are standing back, supporting much more limited medical-marijuana proposals or invoking the kind of law-and-order and public-health arguments more commonly heard from Republicans.

While 17 more states have seen bills introduced this year to follow Colorado and Washington in approving recreational marijuana, no sitting governor or member of the Senate has offered a full-out endorsement of legalization. Only Gov. Peter Shumlin, a Democrat in Vermont, which is struggling with a heroin problem, said he was open to the idea. “Quite frankly, I don't think we are ready, or want to go down that road,” Gov. Dannel Malloy of Connecticut, which has legalized medical marijuana and decriminalized possession of small amounts, said. “Perhaps the best way to handle this is to watch those experiments that are underway. I don't think it's necessary, and I don't think it's appropriate.”

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