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Politicians On Pot: All Of Congress Graded On Marijuana Legalization

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Guy Bentley Research Associate, Reason Foundation
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Supporters of marijuana legalization have a new weapon in their arsenal to hold anti-pot politicians accountable for their prohibitionist stances.

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) released a scorecard Wednesday ranking members of Congress based on their comments and voting records on marijuana issues.

Released in time for the annual pot smokers informal holiday, 4/20, the report gives members of Congress a letter grade from A to F, reflecting their stances on cannabis reform in 2015.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, for example, was awarded an A, while Texas Sen. [crscore]Ted Cruz[/crscore] was given a B.

“With 61 percent of American adults now advocating that ‘the use of marijuana should be made legal,’ and 67 percent of voters believing states, not the federal government, ought to be the ultimate arbiters of marijuana regulatory policy, it’s no longer acceptable for the federal government to continue to be an impediment to progress,” NORML said in its newsletter.

“While states continue moving forward and pioneering reforms, the federal government still largely remains an obstruction to progress. The ongoing conflict between state and federal cannabis policy remains an unnecessary impediment to those jurisdictions wishing to fully explore the wide range of regulatory options before them. Ultimately, this is a conflict that can only be resolved by Congress, who possesses the authority to amend federal law,” said the report’s executive summary.

Out of the 535 members of Congress, 58 percent landed a passing grade of C or higher while just 3.6 percent received a grade of A. Seven percent of Congress were damned with a failing grade.

Marijuana is legal for recreational use in four states: Colorado, Alaska, Oregon, and Washington. There are 11 states with a strong chance of legalizing in the next few years. Medical cannabis is legal in 23 states.

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