President candidate Kirsten Gillibrand met with several top cannabis influencers in New York on Monday in a listening session to determine what she could do to improve the problems facing the quickly growing industry. Gillibrand has been supportive of the industry and has received an A grade from NORML. She also co-sponsored a bill from Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey to legalize marijuana nationwide.
Now she wants the cannabis industry to support her back.
The Democratic front-runner Joe Biden, has a long history of anti-cannabis positions but has recently begun to shift his position towards cannabis. Biden now approves of decriminalization and rescheduling cannabis to a classification of 2. He also approves of expungement of cannabis crimes. It’s a big change in attitude towards cannabis from Biden, but it falls short of full legalization which is where Gillibrand is positioned.
Another leading candidate, Mayor Pete Buttigieg has said little about his position on cannabis if he were elected. Beto O-Rourke was the chief sponsor of one piece of drug reform legislation and cosponsored several others while he was in Congress. He is in favor of descheduling cannabis.
Senator Gillibrand feels strongly about protecting female and minority-owned businesses in the cannabis industry. She told the group that it will be important to protect inclusion in the cannabis industry because it will easily become taken over by the usual business power brokers.
“If I am President, I would use the Small Business Administration to help women and minority-owned businesses get the financial help they need in order to compete with the wealthier, established players,” she said. Gillibrand is in favor of expungement and investing back into communities that were hurt by the war on drugs. She wants to address social injustice.
Odds Of Winning
In April, Gillibrand was ranked as ninth by The Fix for her chance to be elected as President. Then Joe Biden tossed his hat into the ring and quickly became the front-runner. CNN has kept Gillibrand in ninth place as Sen. Bernie Sanders and O’Rourke slipped. She could use the backing of the cannabis industry to propel her forward and get the boost she needs in order to make it to the early debates.
In addition to championing the cannabis industry, Gillibrand has also seized on women’s reproductive rights as another area she is passionate to fight for. Cannabis and women’s reproductive rights could be the key for Gillibrand to differentiate herself in the crowded field.