Here’s Where 2020 Presidential Candidate Joe Sestak Stands on Cannabis


Now that former Pennsylvania Representative Joe Sestak (D) has joined the 2020 presidential race, the number of Democratic candidates has hit a whopping 25. Sestak is definitely among the lesser-known names in the crowded presidential race, and for those looking to vote for a pro-cannabis candidate, Sestak is an unknown quantity.

Sestak was very quiet on the issue of drug reform during his time in Congress (2008-2011). Over those years, he doesn’t appear to have sponsored or co-sponsored any pro-cannabis legislation. Of course, that might have more to do with the times than the candidate. Marijuana reform wasn’t as big an issue ten years ago as it is today. But then again, Sestak hasn’t clarified his position on cannabis since leaving office either. That makes him the only Democratic presidential candidate that does not have a clear position on marijuana.

However, there is at least some indication that Sestak has a favorable view of overhauling America’s drug policy. On his official campaign website, he stated that the federal government should be “leading a multi-pronged approach to dealing with opioid addiction.” That multi-pronged approach could involve medical marijuana, which is gaining support as a potential treatment for opioid use disorder. Sestak also said it should be easier for scientists to research certain restricted substances, which could include cannabis.

“We should…change federal law to allow doctors and scientists to expand research into the potential of certain psychedelic drugs to complement traditional substance abuse and other mental health treatment,” wrote Sestak. “Anti-drug laws should never be an impediment to sound scientific research, but especially not during a public health crisis such as this one.”

Of course, none of this shows that Sestak supports cannabis reform specifically, so we’ll have to wait and see if he decides to take a stance on the issue one way or the other at all.

Until then, Sestak will remain a bit of a wild card when it comes to cannabis policy, and with so many other candidates running on very strong cannabis legalization platforms, you’d be better off putting your vote elsewhere if marijuana and drug reform are key issues for you.


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