Congresswoman Barbara Lee is a longtime friend and champion of the marijuana reform movement. She was a staffer for Rep. Ron Dellums, one of the first Congress members to advocate marijuana reform in the 1970s, and continued to support marijuana reform as a state legislator and Congress member during the darkest days of the drug war. A strong racial justice advocate, Rep. Lee denounces cannabis laws for their disproportionate impact on minorities.
Lee is a Co-Chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus. She was a leading co-sponsor of the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, the first-ever federal legalization bill to be approved (twice, in 2019 and 2021) by the House of Representatives. At age 77, Rep. Lee is the most senior major candidate in the race, but also the most likely to push cannabis as a high-priority issue in the Senate.
Holds office U.S. House District 12
Candidate in race for U.S. Senate on Tuesday, March 5, 2024
Voted Yes on SAFE Banking Act (2019)
"Cannabis shouldn't be a schedule 1 drug - period." (October 2022)
"We have people still sitting in jail for possession of marijuana while others are able to run and profit from chain dispensaries. Where is the fairness in that? Legalize marijuana. Release those incarcerated with marijuana charges. It’s simple." (October 2022)
"We've accomplished so much meaningful reform since our Democratic majorities took office. But our job isn't finished — from student debt cancellation to cannabis legalization to defunding forever wars, there is more work ahead of us. And I intend to keep fighting for it." 8/21/22
“I am so proud to have passed the MORE Act today. This bill is the product of many, many years of advocacy for federal cannabis reform and equity,” said Rep. Lee. “Make no mistake: this is a racial justice bill. It’s about the thousands of people of color who sit in jail for marijuana offenses while others profit. It’s about finally repairing the harms of the War on Drugs on communities and families across the country. I thank all those who have made this day possible and urge my colleagues to pass the companion bill in the Senate expeditiously.” 4/1/21
"Federal interference in cannabis legalization should never have been an option to begin with. President Trump should have supported the wishes of American voters from the start."
"The failed #WarOnDrugs has punished communities of color for far too long -- Black and Brown entrepreneurs have every right to lead the legal cannabis industry."
"I'm incredibly proud of #Oakland for leading the way on restorative justice in the legal cannabis industry."
"Because veterans need this [cannabis], it works, and it's a shame and disgrace that the VA is preventing this type of treatment that works."
"Attorney General Jeff Sessions made a big mistake today. The lasting legacy of federal marijuana criminalization policies will be the overzealous policing and mass incarceration of people of color. It's disappointing, but not terribly surprising, that Attorney General Sessions has chosen to double-down on these racist and unproductive policies. But it is clear that this agenda is both offensive and deeply out-of-touch with the wishes of the American people. Furthermore, this announcement tramples on the sovereignty of states to create laws and policies that reflect the will of their residents.
"The majority of Americans - including Republican voters - favor legalization. Congress should insist the will of the people is respected by our federal government."
"The federal government should respect the will of the voters in states that have voted to decriminalize cannabis. It's time to stop wasting taxpayer money on the failed War on Drugs."
"The ongoing criminalization of marijuana has cost our state hundreds of millions of dollars and done disproportionate harm to people of color, especially our youth", said Lee.
"Proposition 64 is a sound approach to replacing marijuana prohibition with a safe and legal statewide system."
"Proposition 64 also preserves the rights of medical patients, is supported by California's physicians and will send a message to our federal government that nationwide change is needed on this critical issue,"
2021: The Medical Marijuana Research Act, HR 5657
2021: The MORE Act, HR 3617
2021: The SAFE Banking Act, HR 1996
2019: The SAFE Banking Act, HR 1595
2019: Blumenauer/McClintock/Norton Amendment to Protect Legalization
2016: Veterans Equal Access Amendment
2015: Rohrabacher/Farr Amendment to Protect Medical
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