Elizabeth Warren Stance on Marijuana

Sen. Elizabeth Warren

While Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) says she has never smoked marijuana, she is arguably the most active and vocal of cannabis reform supporters in Congress. She is the lead sponsor on the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act, a bill that would allow states to make their own cannabis policies without fear of federal interference. Warren has also co-sponsored at least six other major pieces of marijuana-related legislation, including bills to expand medical cannabis access to veterans and to protect banks that service the cannabis industry.

Warren is open about her evolving attitudes on cannabis. Initially, she was unenthusiastic about loosening cannabis policies and even declined to endorse the legalization ballot initiative in her hometown state of Massachusetts in 2016 (although she says she did vote in favor of it). Over recent years, she’s embraced legalization more fully and today regularly champions cannabis reform proposals. She hasn’t voted for cannabis legislation, but only because there have been no bills that have been brought to the floor of the Senate during her tenure.

In addition to introducing and co-sponsoring several marijuana bills, Warren has pressed federal officials to protect the cannabis industry. After former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded protections for marijuana in 2018, she spearheaded a letter to Donald Trump, encouraging him to direct the Justice Department to continue its hands-off approach. The year prior, Warren joined nine other senators in a letter to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, urging the bureau to not go after banks that service cannabis-related businesses in states where marijuana is legal.

Warren has said she’d prefer to have marijuana legalized federally, but would be open to working with Republicans to support a state-by-state legalization approach “if that’s the best we can do.”