POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT

Where the Democratic presidential candidates stand on Colorado issues

Ahead of the state’s presidential primary on Super Tuesday, the Democratic candidates talk health care, marijuana, education, public land and beer

Reporting:

Design:

 

Design:

 

IMPORTANT VOTING INFORMATION

  Marijuana


 

Q:

LEGAL CANNABIS

Do you support the legalization of marijuana at the federal level?

Background: Colorado’s first-in-the-nation experiment in legal marijuana began in 2014, and now medical marijuana legalization has spread to 33 states and recreational pot sales exist in 11. The earlier fears of a federal crackdown on Colorado’s legal marijuana market subsided somewhat after the departure of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Nonetheless, as long as the drug is illegal under federal law, legal risks remain for the industry’s present and future in Colorado. Federal legalization could reduce those barriers, but could also threaten Colorado’s industry dominance if it accelerates the competition in other states.

Q:

CANNABIS BANKING

Would you support and sign the SAFE Banking Act (H.R. 1595) to make it easier for marijuana businesses to bank and obtain loans in states where it is legal?

Background: More than six years after Colorado legalized recreational marijuana, a major issue remains unresolved: banking. The U.S. House passed the SAFE Banking Act in 2019 to allow marijuana businesses access to financial services like loans, lines of credit and even bank accounts. These financial services are currently difficult to obtain because the drug is illegal at the federal level. It would also shelter banks and other institutions from prosecution for handling money tied to marijuana. NORML, a marijuana advocacy group, says that absent this sort of law, the billion-dollar state business has effectively been forced to operate in cash, making it more susceptible to theft and other risks. The measure won bipartisan support, but has stalled in the U.S. Senate.

 

No answer on marijuana banking

A: Biden did not respond to questions and it’s not clear where he stands.

 

 

 

No answer on where he stands

A: Bloomberg did not not answer this question when asked, and given his varied statements on legalization, it’s not clear where he stands.

 

 

 

Open to allowing marijuana banking

A: It's not known where he stands on the legislation. But he did say on the campaign trail that the cannabis industry working with so much cash “doesn’t really make sense.”

 

 

 

A cosponsor of the legislation

A: Klobuchar is a cosponsor of the SAFE Banking Act, so she supports the ability of state marijuana companies to access the financial services sector. Her home state is currently debating legalization.

 

 

 

He’s a cosponsor of the legislation

A: In addition, his pledge to legalize marijuana in his first 100 days would address any banking issues for the industry in Colorado, he argues. “Declassifying marijuana will eliminate the current onerous barriers to banking services for growers and dispensaries and allow them to access the banking system like any other business,” his website states.

 

 

 

Supports the legislation to open banking

A: The candidate supports the SAFE Banking Act, telling The Sun he would “direct the federal government to open banking services to the marijuana industry.”

 

 

 

Worked with Colorado’s senator to draft the bill

A: Warren is a cosponsor of the bill’s companion in the U.S. Senate, once again teaming up with Gardner, Colorado’s Republican senator. "Forcing legitimate marijuana businesses to operate a cash-only business is dangerous. It creates unnecessary public safety issues for communities and business owners," Warren said in a statement when the measure was introduced. "The SAFE Banking Act is a common-sense bill that would advance state efforts to regulate the sale of marijuana and support businesses working to establish reliable business operations."

 

 

The Issues


Pick a card to see stances from the candidates.


 

The Candidates


Click a candidate to see where they stand.


 

Joe Biden

Joe Biden

Former Vice President and U.S. Senator   

Michael Bloomberg

Michael Bloomberg

Former New York Mayor and businessman   

x Pete Buttigieg

x Pete Buttigieg

Former Mayor of South Bend, Indiana (Campaign suspended 3/1/20)   

x Amy Klobuchar

x Amy Klobuchar

U.S. Senator from Minnesota (Campaign suspended 3/2/20)   

Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders

Independent U.S. Senator from Vermont   

x Tom Steyer

x Tom Steyer

Businessman and climate activist (Campaign suspended 2/29/20)   

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. Senator from Massachusetts