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Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Renstrom, Kitron Neuschatz, and Lia Kantrowitz

Does Your Senator Think Weed Should Be Legal?

Eve Peyser

Eve Peyser

We asked every US senator what they thought of marijuana legalization. Here's what we learned.

Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Renstrom, Kitron Neuschatz, and Lia Kantrowitz

Last week, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told VICE News he would introduce a bill to "decriminalize" marijuana, a testament to the slow-but-steady mainstreaming of the drug in America. Of course, if you live in the Pacific Northwest, California, Nevada, Colorado, DC, or any of the other handful of states that have legalized weed, chances are you've taken the idea of blazing in (relative) peace for granted for some time now. But in Alabama, to take just one example, carrying a small amount of marijuana could still theoretically—if not likely—land you behind bars for a year or longer, and people get arrested for pot-related crimes in east-coast cities like New York all the time. Nevertheless, state marijuana laws and public opinion about the substance are changing quickly—a Pew Research Center poll conducted last October found that 61 percent of Americans were in favor of legalization.



In the spirit of 4/20, we reached out to every US senator—members of the world's greatest (and perhaps most historically anti-weed) deliberative body—to ask them what their stance on marijuana legalization was in 2018. Unsurprisingly, given the average age of US senators, not everyone wanted to talk. Still, we did everything we could to nail down their stances given Attorney General Jeff Sessions's saber-rattling about a possible crackdown with the rescission of the so-called "Cole Memo" that discouraged federal prosecution in legal-weed states under the Obama administration.

Here's what we learned.

Notes: In several states where weed is described below as flatly "illegal," possession of pot might be decriminalized, which reduces the prospect of major consequences like prison time but ultimately leaves the broader framework of the state- and local-level drug war intact.

When National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) grades or ratings are cited, they were current as of 2016.

We will continue to update this list as more senators elucidate on their views on marijuana legalization.

Alabama

Recreational status: Illegal
Medicinal status: Also illegal, although the state passed a medicinal CBD law, which, according to NORML, allows "for the use of cannabis extracts that are high in CBD and low in THC in instances where a physician has recommended such treatment to a patient with a state-qualifying condition."

Senator Doug Jones (Democrat)

  • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: According to a nonpartisan election guide produced by HuffPost, Jones at least at one point believed the United States should "legalize medical marijuana and decriminalize recreational use."

Senator Richard Shelby (Republican)

  • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has an F rating from NORML. Shelby also voted against the Mikulski Amendment Protecting State Medical Marijuana Laws, as well as an amendment that would allow VA doctors "to recommend cannabis therapy to veterans in states that allow for its therapeutic use." According to old school politician-tracking site On the Issues, Shelby "strongly opposes" legalization.

Alaska

Recreational status: Legal
Medicinal status: Legal

Senator Lisa Murkowski (Republican)

  • Statement to VICE: "While Senator Murkowski personally did not support Alaska's initiative to legalize marijuana for recreational use, she supports states' decisions on the issue," a spokesperson said. "Senator Murkowski has been involved in various efforts such as letters and pieces of legislation regarding the inconsistency between state marijuana laws and federal policy."
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: In 2017, Murkowski co-sponsored a bipartisan bill to protect medical marijuana from federal interference. "I believe that the federal government has no place in undermining the effective administration of state marijuana laws," she said.

Senator Dan Sullivan (Republican)

  • Statement to VICE: “Although I did not support Alaska’s 2014 ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana, it strongly passed and I passionately believe in democracy and the principles of states' rights," the senator said. “I have joined my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in support of numerous letters regarding this important issue and recently cosponsored legislation to ensure marijuana-related businesses in states with existing regulatory structures have access to the banking system. As we move forward, I will be examining new and existing legislative proposals and working to ensure the rights of Alaskans and the State of Alaska are protected.”
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Senator Sullivan cosponsored the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, legislation that would give legal cannabis businesses access to banking services.

Arizona

Recreational status: Illegal
Medicinal status: Legal

Senator John McCain (Republican)

  • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: "I don't think marijuana is healthy," the senator said in 2007. "The fact is I do not approve of the medical use of marijuana, I never have and I never will." He has also called marijuana a "gateway drug," but indicated his stance might be evolving in 2013.

Senator Jeff Flake (Republican)

  • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Flake has indicated agreement with the Republican Liberty Caucus Position Statement on marijuana legalization: "While recognizing the harm that drug abuse causes society, we also recognize that government drug policy has been ineffective and has led to frightening abuses of the Bill of Rights which could affect the personal freedom of any American. We, therefore, support alternatives to the War on Drugs. Per the tenth amendment to the US Constitution, matters such as drugs should be handled at the state or personal level. All laws which give license to violate the Bill of Rights should be repealed."

Arkansas

Recreational status: Illegal
Medicinal status: Legal

Senator John Boozman (Republican)

  • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Boozman has opposed the legalization of medical marijuana in Arkansas.

Senator Tom Cotton (Republican)

  • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: "I think right now what we’re seeing across the states is exactly what our federalist system is designed to do, to allow the states to experiment and see what may work and what doesn’t work," Cotton said earlier this month. “I don’t think we should, in Congress, change the laws that would essentially not just decriminalize or even legalize marijuana but allow it to be commercialized because of all of the negative side effects that would have.”

California

Recreational status: Legal
Medicinal status: Legal

Senator Dianne Feinstein (Democrat)

  • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Feinstein opposed California's 2016 ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana, which was successful. "I am not really for recreational use of marijuana. Medical use, yes," she said. In May 2018, as she faces a primary opponent and criticism for not being progressive enough, Feinstein told McClatchy, "Federal law enforcement agents should not arrest Californians who are adhering to California law... My state has legalized marijuana for personal use, and as California continues to implement this law, we need to ensure we have strong safety rules to prevent impaired driving and youth access, similar to other public health issues like alcohol."

Senator Kamala Harris (Democrat)

  • Statement to VICE: “Senator Harris believes that we need to do the smart thing, the right thing, and finally de-schedule marijuana, and that’s why she’ll co-sponsor Senator Booker’s Marijuana Justice Act," her spokesperson said. "She believes that we need to be smart on crime by using the limited resources of our Justice Department to go after violent crime, drug cartels, and major traffickers rather than non-violent drug offenders—a failed public safety strategy that’s created the largest prison population in the world and waste of taxpayer dollars.”
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: "While friendlier to marijuana reform than Feinstein (low bar), [she] isn't exactly a champion," the LA Times reported in 2017. "In 2014, as state attorney general, she laughed at a reporter's question about marijuana policy." Still, Harris seems to have changed her tune since becoming a senator.

Colorado

Recreational status: Legal
Medicinal status: Legal

Senator Cory Gardner (Republican)

  • Statement to VICE: Gardner's spokesperson sent me a link to a Washington Post article from earlier this month about the senator striking a deal with President Trump to protect Colorado's marijuana laws. “Since the campaign, President Trump has consistently supported states' rights to decide for themselves how best to approach marijuana,” Gardner said. “Late Wednesday, I received a commitment from the President that the Department of Justice’s rescission of the Cole memo will not impact Colorado’s legal marijuana industry.”
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: While he opposed Colorado's initiative to legalize the drug in 2012, Gardner has since started to move on the issue, at least a bit. Since Trump assumed office, the senator has been outspoken in his criticism of federal government interference with Colorado's marijuana laws.

Senator Michael Bennet (Democrat)

  • Statement to VICE: “Michael believes that the Department of Justice shouldn’t interfere with state efforts to regulate the sale of marijuana for medical and recreational purposes," a spokesperson said.
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Bennet joined Cory Gardner in speaking out against the prospect of the feds messing with banks' ability to work with pot businesses.

Connecticut

Recreational status: Illegal
Medicinal status: Legal

Senator Richard Blumenthal (Democrat)

  • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a C rating from NORML. Expressed support for medical marijuana as a way to help combat the opioid epidemic in 2016.

Senator Chris Murphy (Democrat)

  • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a B rating from NORML, and has voted in favor of amendments that would protect marijuana in legal states.

Delaware

Recreational status: Illegal
Medicinal status: Legal

Senator Tom Carper (Democrat)

  • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has an F rating from NORML. According to a 2016 Washington Post story, Senator Carper was the only Democrat among the most vocal opponents of marijuana reform in Congress.

Senator Chris Coons (Democrat)

  • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a B rating from NORML. Co-sponsored the MEDS Act of 2016 with Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), "a bipartisan bill that would make it easier for researchers to conduct clinical studies on the medical benefits of marijuana."

Florida

Recreational status: Illegal
Medicinal status: Legal, albeit still being rolled out (slowly)

Senator Bill Nelson (Democrat)

  • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a B rating from NORML. Has said marijuana legalization is "best left to the states."

Senator Marco Rubio (Republican)

  • Statement to VICE: "He’s open to medicinal uses of marijuana if it’s rigorously tested by the FDA and found to have a proven medical benefit, but does not support legalizing recreational marijuana," a spokesperson said. "He believes that if science supports medical uses for marijuana, the federal government shouldn’t stand in the way. He also remains open to policy changes that facilitate expeditious approval of new medicines for patients who need them, under the care and supervision of doctors as appropriate."
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has an F rating from NORML. "Yes. Yes, I think, well, I think we need to enforce our federal laws," Rubio said in 2015. "Now do states have a right to do what they want? They don't agree with it, but they have their rights. But they don't have a right to write federal policy as well... I don't believe we should be in the business of legalizing additional intoxicants in this country for the primary reason that when you legalize something, what you're sending a message to young people is it can't be that bad, because if it was that bad, it wouldn't be legal."

Georgia

Recreational status: Illegal
Medicinal status: Mostly illegal, although doctors are in some cases allowed to prescribe some patients low-THC extracts

Senator Johnny Isakson (Republican)

  • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a C NORML rating. Co-sponsored the Therapeutic Hemp Medical Access Act of 2017. "This legislation will ensure that families of children suffering from seizures have access to treatments that can provide them with a better quality of life," Isakson said. But also voted (while in the House) in favor of prohibiting use of funding for needle exchanges as well as prohibiting medical marijuana in Washington DC.

Senator David Perdue (Republican)

  • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Rated B- by NORML. "I'm not a doctor, but the only use of marijuana that I would support today would be the medical use of it," the senator said in 2014.

Hawaii

Recreational status: Illegal
Medicinal status: Legal

Senator Brian Schatz (Democrat)

  • Statement to VICE: “We need to move towards decriminalization for two reasons: basic fairness and harm reduction,” Schatz said. “First, while white people and people of color use marijuana at the same rate, people of color are four times more likely to be arrested. So this is a matter of civil justice. And second, we have a nationwide opioid crisis. There are now credible studies that show a precipitous drop in opioid deaths in places where medical marijuana is legal. We are seeing that where medical marijuana is legal, opioid prescriptions decrease.”
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: "States are the laboratory of democracy, and democracy is occurring when it comes to this issue," Schatz has said. "I don’t think Hawaii is ready for it; I don’t think we’re ready for nationwide legislation."

Senator Mazie Hirono (Democrat)

  • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: In February 2018, she urged the Senate Committee on Appropriations to respect state marijuana laws. She wrote, along with Michael Bennet (D-Colorado), that the Justice Department rescinding the Cole Memo has sown "disruption, confusion, and uncertainty throughout the country." She has a B rating from NORML.

Idaho

Recreational status: Illegal
Medicinal status: Illegal

Senator Mike Crapo (Republican)

  • Statement to VICE: "He has not addressed this issue that I’m aware of, but did tell Idaho advocates for medicinal marijuana that it should be a state issue," his spokesperson said.
  • Other indicators of marijuana stance: He has a D rating from NORML. "I have strong concerns about the ramifications of legislation that would legalize illegal drugs or loosen regulation with regard to them. Because many illegal drugs are highly and quickly addictive, the societal and economic costs of such policy decisions would be immense. Rest assured, I will continue to monitor and evaluate the policy discussions centered on states’ legalization of marijuana and its implications for federal law," Crapo, who was arrested on a DUI charge in 2012, has said.

Senator Jim Risch (Republican)

  • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
  • Other indicators of marijuana stance: Has an F rating from NORML. Has also complained about legal weed in Washington state, which borders Idaho. “The law and the culture make us very different from the states that have legalized marijuana," he said of Idaho. “There were some very unsophisticated people in Idaho who thought if they went over there and legally bought something that they could bring it back to Idaho, and that’s simply not the case."

Illinois

Recreational status: Illegal
Medicinal status: Legal

Senator Dick Durbin (Democrat)

  • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: In a letter from Durbin forwarded to me by a constituent, he wrote, "I oppose the legalization of marijuana for general use. At the same time, I believe that marijuana may have medical applications when prescribed by a doctor in specific cases, such as glaucoma or the alleviation of pain in some patients with chronic illnesses." After Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Justice Department was changing its Obama-era policy of respecting legal marijuana in states that voted to end prohibition, Durbin said, “I’m worried, and I think a number of people are concerned about how far Attorney General Sessions is going to go."


Senator Tammy Duckworth (Democrat)

  • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a B rating from NORML. Duckworth urged the Senate Committee on Appropriations to respect state marijuana laws, along with Senator Hirono and Senator Bennet, among others.

Indiana

Recreational status: Illegal
Medicinal status: Mostly illegal, although people are allowed to buy high-CBD low-THC oil.

Senator Joe Donnelly (Democrat)

  • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a D rating from NORML. According to one marijuana policy/advocacy site, he has a record of voting against protecting states with medical weed from the feds while a member of the House in 2007.

Senator Todd Young (Republican)

  • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Co-sponsored the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015, when he was a congressman, which would exclude hemp from the legal definition of "marihuana." In a 2014 interview, he said, "For medical purposes, this is a state-level decision... We need to accept the state prerogative... I suspect this is an area that will continue to evolve in the law, and we'll have to adapt accordingly."

Iowa

Recreational status: Illegal
Medicinal status: Mostly illegal, although doctors are allowed to prescribe some patients high-CBD low-THC extracts

Senator Chuck Grassley (Republican)

  • Statement to VICE: A spokesperson directed me to Grassley's previous statements on marijuana. "This anti-drug message is needed now, more than ever," he said in 2016, later adding, "We shouldn’t overlook the problem of marijuana use, which has increased in recent years... Exposing young people to marijuana can cause long-term or possibly permanent negative changes to the brain."
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a D- rating from NORML. "I oppose moving marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule II drug, based on the current science on the risks and benefits," he said in a statement. "[But] for children suffering from severe epileptic seizures, the anecdotal evidence says components of the marijuana plant might help. I want to help those children." In 2016, he co-sponsored a bill "to support research initiatives on the potential benefits of substances such as cannabidiol (CBD) that are derived from marijuana." Here are some of his tweets about marijuana, which I'll let you decipher:

Senator Joni Ernst (Republican)

  • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a D rating from NORML. According to a 2014 HuffPost primer, Ernst opposed most forms of medical marijuana.

Kansas

Recreational status: Illegal
Medicinal status: Illegal

Senator Pat Roberts (Republican)

  • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a C rating from NORML. In 2014, Roberts said marijuana legalization was "not a federal issue. That’s a state issue. If you want to get a Rocky Mountain high, go west. That should be for the Kansas legislature and the governor to decide, not federally."

Senator Jerry Moran (Republican)

  • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a D rating from NORML. Voted against an amendment that would allow VA doctors to use marijuana as a treatment.

Kentucky

Recreational status: Illegal
Medicinal status: Illegal

Senator Mitch McConnell (Republican)

  • Statement to VICE: His spokesperson directed me to a press release detailing his support for the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2018, "which would legalize and clearly define hemp as an agricultural commodity and remove it from the list of controlled substances."
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has an F rating from NORML. "I'm against legalizing marijuana," he said in 2014. "Certainly it's not in the same category as heroin, but I think to begin ... to sort of send the message that we're giving up, you know, that this is just the way it's going to be, then one thing leads to another and pretty soon ... you completely transform your society in a way that I think certainly most Kentuckians would not agree with."

Senator Rand Paul (Republican)

  • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a B+ rating from NORML. In a 2013 interview on Fox News, Paul said, "The main thing I've said is not to legalize [drugs like marijuana] but not to incarcerate people for extended periods of time... I think even marijuana is a bad thing to do. I think it takes away your incentive to work and show up and do the things that you should be doing. I don't think it's a good idea. I don't want to promote that but I also don't want to put people in jail who make the mistake."

Louisiana

Recreational status: Illegal
Medicinal status: Legal (but not smokable)

Senator Bill Cassidy (Republican)

  • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a B+ NORML grade. "There are specific uses of medical marijuana recognized, such as a treatment for chemotherapy induced nausea," a spokesperson said in 2014. Cassidy, who is a doctor, "is supportive when used for a defined medical purpose and prescribed by the patient's doctor."

Senator John Kennedy (Republican)

  • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Strongly opposed legalizing marijuana, according to a 2016 questionnaire cited by On the Issues.

Maine

Recreational status: Legal
Medicinal status: Legal

Senator Susan Collins (Republican)

  • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a B- rating from NORML. In 2017, she told Rolling Stone, "I do not support a national, a federal effort to decriminalize marijuana. We're in the midst of an opioid crisis in this country and I think the last thing we need is for the federal government to send a signal that marijuana should be legalized across this country." (The citizens of the state she represents would appear to disagree.)

Senator Angus King (Independent)

  • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a C rating from NORML. On his state's decision to legalize recreational marijuana, he said, "That was a state issue—they made the decision up there, so I'm not going to comment."

Maryland

Recreational status: Illegal
Medicinal status: Legal

Senator Ben Cardin (Democrat)

  • Statement to VICE: "Senator Cardin supports Maryland’s medical marijuana law. He believes decisions on marijuana should be up to the states," a spokesperson told me.
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a C rating from NORML.

Senator Chris Van Hollen (Democrat)

  • Statement to VICE: “Maryland is among the over 25 states that have legalized medical marijuana and the 13 states that have decriminalized marijuana. I support these states’ decisions, and I do not believe the federal government should infringe upon this choice," Van Hollen told me through a spokesperson. "Our state and federal resources should not be used to lock up non-violent offenders for the use and possession of marijuana.”
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: He's supported marijuana decriminalization since at least 2014.

Massachusetts

Recreational status: Legal (set to be purchasable as of July)
Medicinal status: Legal

Senator Ed Markey (Democrat)

  • Statement to VICE: A spokesperson told me Markey is "fully supportive of medical marijuana."
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a C+ NORML rating. After AG Sessions announced the feds might go after states with legal marijuana, Markey said, “Massachusetts has put in significant time, effort, and resources to ensure that its laws regarding the use of marijuana protect the public health, safety, and patient welfare of residents of the Commonwealth. Having the federal government play an enforcement role is senseless and a waste of federal resources that should instead be directed toward stopping the flow of illicit fentanyl, heroin, and other opioids that are killing thousands of people every month.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren (Democrat)

  • Statement to VICE: "I believe the federal government should get out of the business of outlawing marijuana. If a state like Massachusetts wants to make it legal, then that should be up to the state of Massachusetts," the senator said through a spokesperson.
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a B grade from NORML.

Michigan

Recreational status: Illegal
Medicinal status: Legal

Senator Debbie Stabenow (Democrat)

  • Statement to VICE: “It’s time to decriminalize medical and recreational marijuana. It’s also important to move forward thoughtfully and work closely with law enforcement, public health officials, business leaders and communities to ensure we get this right and avoid unintended consequences,” Stabenow told me through a spokesperson.
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a D grade from NORML.

Senator Gary Peters (Democrat)

  • Statement to VICE: “Michiganders have the right to decide this important issue, and Senator Peters supports the ballot initiative effort underway in the state to legalize marijuana for recreational use," his spokesperson told me. "Senator Peters believes this change will generate desperately needed tax revenue to support Michigan’s deteriorating schools and aging roads and bridges, and prevent people who use marijuana from ending up in the prison pipeline.”
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: In 2010, he voiced support for enacting medical marijuana in Michigan without federal interference, and in 2014, he voted yea on an amendment that would "prohibit states from penalizing a bank for providing financial services to marijuana businesses."

Minnesota

Recreational status: Illegal
Medicinal status: Legal

Senator Amy Klobuchar (Democrat)

  • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a D rating from NORML.

Senator Tina Smith (Democrat)

  • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has only been a senator since January 3, 2018, and does not appear to have clarified her stance on weed.

Mississippi

Recreational status: Illegal
Medicinal status: Mostly illegal, although doctors are allowed to prescribe some patients oil extracts .

Senator Roger Wicker (Republican)

  • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a D rating from NORML. Wicker also expressed support for AG Sessions's decision to encourage federal weed prosecutions. "I think that the statement of the Attorney General is that it is still illegal at the federal level and I support that," Wicker said.

Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (Republican)

  • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: The senator took office just this month and does not appear to have indicated a stance on legalization one way or the other.

Missouri

Recreational status: Illegal
Medicinal status: Mostly illegal, although doctors are allowed to prescribe some patients "hemp extracts."

Senator Claire McCaskill (Democrat)

  • Statement to VICE: Her spokesperson directed me to this tweet:
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a C rating from NORML.

Senator Roy Blunt (Republican)

  • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a B rating from NORML. Voted against the federal government interfering with state marijuana laws.

Montana

Recreational status: Illegal
Medicinal status: Legal

Senator Jon Tester (Democrat)

  • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a B+ rating from NORML. Has voted in favor of various amendments that would protect marijuana in states where it's been legalized.

Senator Steve Daines (Republican)

  • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a B+ rating from NORML. Has voted in favor of various amendments that would protect marijuana in states where it's been legalized.

Nebraska

Recreational status: Illegal
Medicinal status: Illegal

Senator Deb Fischer (Republican)

Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.

Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has an F rating from NORML. "I do not support legalization of marijuana," she said in 2015. The senator has also raised the alarm about pot in legal weed states moving across state lines.

Senator Ben Sasse (Republican)

  • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a C rating from NORML. “I believe our society doesn’t need more drugs because, like every Nebraska parent, I want what is best for my children. At the same time, I generally believe that contentious issues should be handled, whenever possible, by states rather than federal bureaucracies," he said in 2014. The senator has also attempted at least one joke about "reefer."

Nevada

Recreational status: Legal
Medicinal status: Legal

Senator Dean Heller (Republican)

  • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a B grade from NORML. "The time has come for the federal government to stop impeding the doctor-patient relationship in states that have decided their own medical marijuana policies," he said in a 2015 statement.

Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (Democrat)

  • Statement to VICE: “The voters of Nevada spoke loudly and clearly when they voted to legalize recreational marijuana in the State of Nevada. Though as Attorney General I was opposed to legalization, I respect the will of Nevadans and have stood up to Attorney General Sessions when he rescinded the Cole Memo; and as this Administration continues to threaten states that have pursued legalization. I continue to work to ensure legal marijuana businesses are provided access to financial services and other resources," she said.

New Hampshire

Recreational status: Illegal
Medicinal status: Legal

Senator Maggie Hassan (Democrat)

  • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: When she was governor of New Hampshire, she promised to veto any bill that would legalize recreational marijuana.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen (Democrat)

  • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a B rating from NORML. Has voted in favor of various amendments that would protect marijuana in states where it's been legalized.

New Jersey

Recreational status: Illegal
Medicinal status: Legal

Senator Bob Menendez (Democrat)

  • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
  • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a D rating from NORML. Told President Trump and AG Sessions to leave legal marijuana alone in states that legalized it.
  • Senator Cory Booker (Democrat)

    • Statement to VICE: "He supports legalization—and has been a leader on the issue. Last year he introduced a landmark bill that would legalize marijuana and incentivize states to do the same, if state marijuana laws were shown to have a disproportionate effect on low-income individuals and/or people of color," his spokesperson told me.

    New Mexico

    Recreational status: Illegal
    Medicinal status: Legal

    Senator Tom Udall (Democrat)

    • Statement to VICE: “States are really in the best position to determine whether or not to legalize medical marijuana but we need to keep watching states like Colorado who have legalized marijuana recreationally and continue to gather all the evidence to see what kind of effect it’s having on tourism, the economy, and communities," he said. "In the meantime, I don’t think it is wise for law enforcement to be expected to use its limited resources to prosecute recreational users.”

    Senator Martin Heinrich (Democrat)

    • Statement to VICE: "Does Sen. Heinrich think recreational marijuana should be legal? How about medical marijuana? The answer to both of your questions below is YES," his spokesperson said.

    New York

    Recreational status: Illegal
    Medicinal status: Legal (sort-of)

    Senator Chuck Schumer (Democrat)

    • Statement to VICE: “Ultimately, it’s the right thing to do. Freedom. If smoking marijuana doesn’t hurt anybody else, why shouldn’t we allow people to do it and not make it criminal?” Schumer told VICE News this month.

    Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (Democrat)

    • Statement to VICE: "The Senator introduced bipartisan legislation that would allow states to set their own medical marijuana policies without the fear of the federal government prosecuting patients, doctors, and caregivers," her spokesperson told me.
    • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a B+ rating from NORML.

    North Carolina

    Recreational status: Illegal
    Medicinal status: Mostly illegal, although doctors are allowed to prescribe some patients "hemp extracts."

    Senator Richard Burr (Republican)

    • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
    • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a D rating from NORML. "I'm on the record for believing that medical marijuana has no real intrinsic values that you can't get through other things," he said in 2010.

    Senator Thom Tillis (Republican)

    • Statement to VICE: "Senator Tillis is opposed to legalizing recreational marijuana at the federal level, but he supports efforts to remove regulatory roadblocks that place unnecessary limits on legitimate research into medical marijuana and derivatives, which includes the potential health benefits, interactions with other prescription medications, and appropriate dosage," his spokesperson said.

    North Dakota

    Recreational status: Illegal
    Medicinal status: Legal

    Senator John Hoeven (Republican)

    • Statement to VICE: "States are determining how this issue will be handled now and going forward. Senator Hoeven is willing to support medical marijuana since North Dakotans have voted to legalize it," a spokesperson said.
    • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a D rating from NORML and has voted against various amendments that would protect marijuana in states where it's been legalized.

    Senator Heidi Heitkamp (Democrat)

    • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
    • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a D rating from NORML, but has said she thinks the federal government should respect state marijuana laws.

    Ohio

    Recreational status: Illegal
    Medicinal status: Legal

    Senator Sherrod Brown (Democrat)

    • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
    • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a D rating from NORML. In 2015, Brown said he had "significant concerns about" legalizing recreational marijuana but also expressed support for medical weed.

    Senator Rob Portman (Republican)

    • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
    • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has an F grade from NORML. In 2015, Portman said he did not support marijuana legalization.

    Oklahoma

    Recreational status: Illegal
    Medicinal status: Mostly illegal, although doctors are allowed to prescribe some patients high-CBD low-THC extracts.

    Senator Jim Inhofe (Republican)

    • St atement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
    • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a D NORML rating and does not appear to support legalization.

    Senator James Lankford (Republican)

    • Statement to VICE: "Senator Lankford does not support the legalization of recreational marijuana," his spokesperson said.
    • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has an F rating from NORML and has suggested marijuana hurts families.

    Oregon

    Recreational status: Legal
    Medicinal status: Legal

    Senator Ron Wyden (Democrat)

    • Statement to VICE: “I am fighting to make sure the federal government respects the decision to legalize marijuana that voters in states like Oregon have made for themselves,” Wyden said through a spokesperson. “I wrote and introduced last year with Rep. Blumenauer the Path to Marijuana Reform—a series of three bills to responsibly deschedule, tax and regulate marijuana—that would protect consumers and ensure state-legal marijuana businesses are treated fairly. Additionally, our reform plan adds new protections against unfair housing discrimination, deportations and drug testing."

    Senator Jeff Merkley (Democrat)

    • Statement to VICE: “Senator Merkley believes that the federal government should decriminalize cannabis and give all states the option to follow Oregon’s lead in legalizing cannabis without having to fear conflict with federal law. He feels strongly that, as a nation, we spend far too many resources locking up Americans for non-violent, cannabis-related offenses—resources that could be much better spent on addiction treatment, education and health care,” a spokesperson said.

    Pennsylvania

    Recreational status: Illegal
    Medicinal status: Legal

    Senator Bob Casey, Jr. (Democrat)

    • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
    • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a B rating from NORML. Also opposed AG Sessions encouraging federal prosecutors to go after legal-weed states.

    Senator Pat Toomey (Republican)

    • Statement to VICE: "Senator Toomey’s view is that if there are chemical compounds in marijuana that are proven to be medically useful and helpful to people, then, by all means, they should be available to people. He does not support the recreational use of marijuana," his spokesperson said.
    • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a D rating from NORML.

    Rhode Island

    Recreational status: Illegal
    Medicinal status: Legal

    Senator Jack Reed (Democrat)

    • Statement to VICE: "Senator Reed supports Rhode Island’s medical marijuana law and he supported an amendment to bar the US Department of Justice and the DEA from using funds to prohibit states from carrying out their own medical marijuana laws,” his spokesperson said. “He also believes that federal policy should continue to recognize legitimate state policies on marijuana, and that Attorney General Sessions should focus law enforcement efforts on combatting more critical drug problems, such as the opioid crisis and heinous crimes associated with drug trafficking, rather than targeting individuals and businesses in full compliance with state law regarding medical marijuana. Furthermore, he believes the experience of states who have legalized marijuana for recreational use should be studied closely in the coming years to see what federal legislative changes should be contemplated."

    Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (Democrat)

    • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
    • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a B rating from NORML. "We know that marijuana can provide relief for patients suffering from serious illnesses,” Whitehouse said in 2013.

    South Carolina

    Recreational status: Illegal
    Medicinal status: Illegal

    Senator Lindsey Graham (Republican)

    • Statement to VICE: He's "not supportive of recreational marijuana," his spokesperson said.
    • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a B- grade from NORML. In 2016, he told Politico, “I am open-minded to the idea that the plant may have medical attributes that could help people.…I'm convinced that we should, as a nation, research the medical applications of the marijuana plant....It could be life-changing. I just want to do it in a scientific way…and the current system doesn't allow for the research that we need.”

    Senator Tim Scott (Republican)

    • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
    • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a D grade from NORML. "There is growing scientific evidence documenting the health risks associated with marijuana use including adverse effects on the lungs, the cardiovascular system, and possibly the immune and reproductive systems. However, I also understand the great importance of preserving the rights bestowed to the States," he apparently wrote while a member of Congress in 2011.

    South Dakota

    Recreational status: Illegal
    Medicinal status: Illegal

    Senator John Thune (Republican)

    • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
    • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has an F grade from NORML. "I do not support legalizing the use of marijuana. Currently, the medical benefits from the use of marijuana are still inconclusive, and I believe that we must be careful not to increase the availability of marijuana and the use of marijuana for non-medical reasons," he apparently wrote in 2014.

    Senator Mike Rounds (Republican)

    • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
    • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has an F grade from NORML . "I think that the chemicals found within marijuana … should be due deference given in a medical sense, but I do not think marijuana by itself should be approved for medical purposes because we find right now that there are people coming in and they’re saying, ‘I’ve got a backache,’ and now the doctor is simply pressured to allow them to do so. Marijuana is a controlled substance for a reason," he said in a 2016 interview.

    Tennessee

    Recreational status: Illegal
    Medicinal status: Mostly illegal, although doctors are allowed to prescribe some patients high-CBD low-THC extracts.

    Senator Lamar Alexander (Republican)

    • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
    • Other indicators of stance on legalization: "Sen. Alexander believes that Washington, DC should not be telling states what to do about the decriminalization of marijuana," his spokesperson said in 2014, adding, "while there may be some valid medicinal uses for cannabis, he is concerned about the potential abuse and widespread use of drugs for recreational purposes and is carefully watching the de-criminalization process in the states of Colorado and Washington."

    Senator Bob Corker (Republican)

    • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
    • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a D rating from NORML. "A person should not be denied access to needed medical care for legally following their doctor's advice.... However, I do not support the legalization of marijuana or any legislation that declassifies it as a Schedule I drug," Corker reportedly said in 2009.

    Texas

    Recreational status: Illegal
    Medicinal status: Mostly illegal, although doctors are allowed to prescribe some patients high-CBD low-THC extracts.

    Senator Ted Cruz (Republican)

    • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
    • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a C grade from NORML. “When it comes to a question of legalizing marijuana, I don’t support legalizing marijuana,” he said in 2015. “If it were on the ballot in the state of Texas, I would vote no. But I also believe that’s a legitimate question for the states to make a determination.... I think it is appropriate for the federal government to recognize that the citizens of those states have made that decision, and one of the benefits of it, you know, using Brandeis's terms of laboratories of democracy, is we can now watch and see what happens in Colorado and Washington State."

    Senator John Cornyn (Republican)

    • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
    • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has an F grade from NORML. "AG [Jeff Sessions] appropriately said we should no longer ignore federal law," Cornyn tweeted in January. "If Congress wants to debate changes to federal law it should do so, not ignore it."

    Utah

    Recreational status: Illegal
    Medicinal status: Mostly illegal, although doctors are allowed to prescribeallowed to prescribe some patients with epilepsy high-CBD low-THC extracts. Partly legal for terminally-ill patients.

    Senator Orrin Hatch (Republican)

    • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
    • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has been outspoken in his support of medical marijuana as a possible tool in fighting the opioid crisis. Introduced a bipartisan bill that would expand cannabis research. "While I certainly do not support the use of marijuana for recreational purposes, the evidence shows that cannabis possesses medicinal properties that can truly change people’s lives for the better," he said.

    Senator Mike Lee (Republican)

    • Statement to VICE: "Sen. Lee has cosponsored the CARERS Act which allows states to set their own marijuana policies," his spokesperson said.
    • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a C NORML rating.

    Vermont

    Recreational status: Legal (law will take effect in July)
    Medicinal status: Legal

    Senator Patrick Leahy (DEMOCRAT)

    • S tatement to VICE: "Leahy is the author of the medical marijuana provision in the Omnibus Appropriations Bill (the federal budget for this fiscal year) which was passed and signed into law about three weeks ago. He first included his legislation in the Senate’s version of the Justice Dept. budget bill, approved by the Appropriations Committee last year," his spokesperson said.
    • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a B rating from NORML. "I am concerned that just because marijuana is illegal under federal law, that we're just going to ignore what states do and send law enforcement in there to enforce the federal law...I hate to see a great deal of law enforcement resources spent on things like the possession and use of marijuana when we have murder cases, armed robbery cases, things like that that go unsolved... It was also my feeling as a prosecutor. I found more important things to do... We have spent...hundreds of billions of dollars on this so called 'war on drugs.' Well, we've lost," he said in 2013.

    Senator Bernie Sanders (Independent)

    • Statement to VICE: “Here is the simple truth: Blacks and whites have similar rates of marijuana use, but black people are far more likely to be arrested for it," the senator said through a spokesperson. "Last year, about 600,000 people were arrested for possession of marijuana. Many of those people, disproportionately people of color, have seen their lives destroyed because they have criminal records as a result of marijuana use. That has got to change. As I talked about during my campaign, we must end the absurd situation of marijuana being listed as a Schedule 1 drug alongside heroin. It is time to decriminalize marijuana, as many states have already done, and end the failed war on drugs. We must invest in jobs and education, not more jails and incarceration.”

    Virginia

    Recreational status: Illegal
    Medicinal status: Mostly illegal, although doctors are allowed to prescribe some patients high-CBD low-THC extracts

    Senator Tim Kaine (Democrat)

    • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
    • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a C+ grade from NORML. "I’ve never been a legalization fan. I just haven’t been,” he said in 2014. “Just for a whole series of both health- and sort of crime-related reasons, I think that would not be a good idea.” More recently, Kaine signaled support for marijuana research bills in Congress, telling MerryJane.com through a spokesperson, "Senator Kaine is open to commonsense changes to marijuana laws and recently co-sponsored bills to expand research looking into the medical benefits of marijuana, including a focus on whether it’s a safe alternative to opioids."

    Senator Mark Warner (Democrat)

    • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
    • Other indicators of stance on legalization: One of his staffers told NORML in 2016, "Senator Warner supports the use of medical marijuana when used appropriately," adding he thought Virginia should “wait until there is more data from Colorado and Washington state” before making a call on legalization writ-large.

    Washington

    Recreational status: Legal
    Medicinal status: Legal

    Senator Patty Murray (Democrat)

    • Statement to VICE: “When it comes to the legal, adult use of marijuana, the voters in my home state of Washington and in many other states have spoken clearly. I intend to keep fighting to make sure Washington state is able to continue carrying out the will of its voters," she said.
    • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a B+ rating from NORML.

    Senator Maria Cantwell (Democrat)

    • Statement to VICE: Her spokesperson forwarded along this quote: "The Trump Administration’s decision is misguided and harmful. Instead of respecting the will of voters across our country and seeking input from states on how to move forward, the Attorney General is taking the Department of Justice backwards. I will continue to support my state’s decision to legalize recreational marijuana."
    • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a C rating from NORML.

    West Virginia

    Recreational status: Illegal
    Medicinal status: Partly legal

    Senator Joe Manchin (Democrat)

    • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
    • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a D rating from NORML. Suggested in the past he believed marijuana to be a gateway drug, and told STATNews, "Legalizing recreational marijuana is something I have not been able to accept or support."

    Senator Shelley Moore Capito (Republican)

    • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
    • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a C rating from NORML. “I have fewer issues with medical marijuana, although I don’t think we’ve researched that enough to really know, exactly, what kind of benefits but also what kind of impacts," Capito said last month. “On recreational use, I can’t do it. I am opposed to it... I just feel like it’s a gateway drug."

    Wisconsin

    Recreational status: Illegal
    Medicinal status: Mostly illegal, although doctors are allowed to prescribe some patients high-CBD low-THC extracts

    Senator Tammy Baldwin (Democrat)

    • Statement to VICE: "I support the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes. I also believe the federal government should not interfere with states' decisions regarding the treatment of marijuana use for medical and recreational purposes," she said.
    • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a B+ grade from NORML and has voted in favor of amendments that would protect marijuana in legal states.

    Senator Ron Johnson (Republican)

    • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
    • Other indicators of stance on legalization: Has a C rating from NORML. Has expressed vague openness to the prospect of legalization in the past. "I guess right now I'm just sitting here watching the states' experiment and seeing how that happens," he said in 2014.

    Wyoming

    Recreational status: Illegal
    Medicinal status: Mostly illegal, although doctors are allowed to prescribe some patients high-CBD low-THC extracts

    Senator Mike Enzi (Republican)

    • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
    • Other indicators of stance on legalization: “There is strong evidence that marijuana does act as a gateway drug, and Sen. Enzi believes we must think about what kind of message these laws would send to our young people,” a spokesperson said in 2015. “There is also no clear science-based evidence that medical marijuana is more effective than other regulated medicines. Approval of medical marijuana use at this time is premature until the research is more conclusive about benefits and risk.”

    Senator John Barrasso (Republican)

    • Statement to VICE: Did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
    • Other indicators of stance on legalization: “While there are conflicting studies regarding the medical use of marijuana, the risks to individuals and the larger community far outweigh the potential benefits it may or may not provide,” a spokesperson said in 2015. “Sen. Barrasso believes there are better legal and proven ways to safely address pain.”

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