Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has remained relatively quiet on his cannabis views. However, he has come out in support of marijuana legalization, which he sees as critical for social justice. In February 2019, he told the Boston Globe that “the safe, regulated, and legal sale of marijuana is an idea whose time has come for the United States.”
At SXSW in March 2019, Buttigieg shared a story of being caught with a marijuana joint while in college by a police officer. Buttigieg said that the police officer letting him off with just a berating, when others would have faced more serious, lifelong consequences due to racial disparities in enforcement, has informed his position on cannabis reform.
Throughout his time as mayor, Buttigieg has not had the opportunity to sign any legislation directly related to cannabis. He did approve an ordinance in 2017 that prohibited the sale of synthetic marijuana, which are dangerous laboratory-produced chemicals that are not marijuana at all and are not meant for human consumption.
Buttigieg had long been quiet on cannabis reform, indicating early on that he didn’t intend to make the legalization issue central to his campaign. However, in July 2019, he announced a major marijuana reform plan called the Douglass Plan, which would legalize marijuana, expunge past convictions, and eliminate jail time for possession. His comments acknowledging the racial injustices of prohibition and support for legalizing at least indicates he wouldn’t prohibit reform efforts from advancing.