Patrick Raycraft / TNS / NewscomNine governors, all Democrats, get A grades in a new scorecard from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), up from two last year. The shift reflects a growing willingness to reconsider pot prohibition now that a record number of Americans (66 percent in the most recent Gallup poll) support legalization.
“Following the publication of our 2018 Scorecard, there has been a dramatic shift in opinion among elected officials in favor of marijuana policy reform,” says NORML Political Director Justin Strekal. “Never before have we seen so many governors go on record and pledge their support for legalizing the responsible use of cannabis by adults. As a result, we expect there to be unprecedented levels of legislative activity at the state level surrounding the need to regulate the commercial cannabis market in 2019 and in 2020.”
The top scorers include the governors of five states that have already legalized recreational use of marijuana (California, Colorado, Michigan, Oregon, and Washington) and four newly elected governors—Connecticut’s Ned Lamont, New Jersey’s Phil Murphy, Illinois’ J.B. Pritzker, and Minnesota’s Tim Walz—who want to follow suit. NORML gives two other governors who have recently endorsed legalization, New York’s Andrew Cuomo and Rhode Island’s Gina Raimondo, a B+ and B, respectively.
Not all governors of states that have legalized recreational marijuana are enthusiastic about that policy. Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy, a Republican who took office in December, “holds a certain skepticism for legal marijuana use,” as his spokesman recently put it after the governor appointed an anti-pot activist to the state’s Marijuana Control Board. NORML notes just one marijuana-related position in its description of Dunleavy—his opposition to changing Alaska’s flat $50-per-ounce tax on cannabis—and does not give him a grade.
Maine Gov. Jane Mills, who replaced legalization opponent