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Two Democratic Governor Candidates Say Decriminalize Marijuana

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #651)
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

Two Democratic Party gubernatorial candidates in the Northeast are calling for marijuana decriminalization.  They are Vermont candidate Peter Shumlin and Connecticut candidate Dan Malloy.

Peter Shumlin
While neither candidate is playing up the issue -- decriminalization doesn't appear on either candidates' issues page -- both have staked out clear positions in favor of decriminalization, and Shumlin has talked repeatedly about it during the campaign.

"We simply are penny wise and pound foolish to be using law enforcement dollars to be locking up criminals when they're dealing with small amounts of marijuana," Shumlin said during a televised candidates' forum before the primary election.

He kept on message this month, telling the Barre-Montepelier Times Argus: "I believe we should join California and Massachusetts in decriminalizing small amounts. It is important we have law enforcement focus on meth dealers, cocaine dealers, heroin and the really tough drug challenges we face as a state."

Shumlin, the current president pro tem of the Vermont House, has garnered support from the Marijuana Policy Project, which has so far contributed $14,000 to his campaign. MPP believes that with Shumlin as governor, a decriminalization bill can pass in Vermont next year.

In Connecticut, Democratic nominee Dan Malloy hasn't been as outspoken as Shumlin, but he has come out in favor of decriminalization. In response to a question at a September 6 meeting at the University of Connecticut, Malloy said he "absolutely supports" decriminalization.

According to the running average of polls compiled by Real Clear Politics, Malloy is leading Republican candidate Tom Foley by 6.5 percentage points. The Vermont race is much tighter, with Real Clear Politics calling it a "toss up," and Shumlin leading Republican candidate Brian Dubie by three points in the latest poll.

Times are indeed changing when gubernatorial candidates representing a mainstream political party are calling for decriminalization. Will it help them win in November? Could it hurt? Stay tuned.

(This article was published by's lobbying arm, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also shares the cost of maintaining this web site. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Moonrider (not verified)

Seems to me Obama said similar stuff before his election, too.  Just because politicians say things that please voters during the campaign, doesn't mean they will follow thru after the election.  You cannot rely on what they say, as they all lie like rugs.  You must rely on what they've done and how they've voted on issues in the past, if they've held office; if they've never held office, you can't trust anything they say, you're taking a shot in the dark by voting for them.  The voters need to find a way to make politicians accountable for their campaign promises, we must stop them telling us one thing when they are begging us for our votes and doing the complete opposite once in office.  I don't know how to accomplish that other than taking some kind of recall action and there appears to be little to no method of recall for most politicians regardless the level of government, but it must be done, somehow, and soon.

Thu, 09/30/2010 - 3:56am Permalink
Heywood Jablowme (not verified)

I agree with you about the veracity of polititians, Moonrider, but In my long experience they always ran away from any position on cannabis that wasn't hardcore against.  Whether they really follow thru once in office is usually questionable, yes, but the drug war facade is crumbling when candidates in tight races openly favor decrim or even legalization.  We're close to the mountaintop, my friend....keep pushing!

Thu, 09/30/2010 - 11:45am Permalink

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