On Tuesday, November 5, 2024, Americans will once again go to the polls to decide who their next president should be. While the Democratic and Republican nominees have yet to be decided, it is very likely that we will see a rematch of 2020 based on current polling data but anything is possible.

The topics that most Americans are currently concerned about going into the election appear to be abortion access, with 57% of Americans opposed to the supreme court’s decision to overturn Roe vs Wade, and the economy, with 31% of individuals polled listing it as their top concern and preserving democracy not far behind at 20%. But another topic that might help decide the outcome of the next election could possibly be the legalization of marijuana.

Polling done by Pew Research last year has shown that 88% of Americans believe that marijuana should be legal for medical use and 59% say it should be legal for recreational use. As a result of this and similar polling data, many of the presidential hopefuls have weighed in on the issue.

Photo of Marianne Williamson By Matt Johnson, CC BY 2.0  via Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Marianne Williamson By Matt Johnson, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Marianne Williamson (D)

Democratic candidate Marianne Williamson has stated that she would declassify marijuana from being listed as a Schedule 1 drug and would promote research in non-traditional medicines such as psilocybin as well as decriminalize all currently illicit drugs.

Robert F.Kennedy Jr / Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Robert F.Kennedy Jr / Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (D)

Fellow Democrat Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has stated that he would not only legalize both marijuana and psychedelics if elected but use taxes on the drugs to fund rehab centers as stated during a town hall meeting back in June.

Photo of President Joe Biden courtesy of The White House, CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Photo of President Joe Biden courtesy of The White House, CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Joe Biden (D)

When it comes to the incumbent President, Joe Biden, who is polling far ahead of his Democratic challengers at this time, he has yet to follow through on his plan to decriminalize marijuana on a federal level, release individuals in federal prison over nonviolent cannabis charges and reschedule it under the Controlled Substance Act, unfortunately. Despite this, The White House has not interfered with the legalization of recreational and medical cannabis on the state level, and it is still possible for him to follow through on his earlier campaign promises in order to win the appeal of younger voters.

Ryan Binkley (R)

At the time of writing this, Generational Equity Group CEO Ryan Binkley has not made any public comments about his view on marijuana one way or the other.

Perry Johnson (R)

Former candidate for Governor of Michigan has not publicly discussed his views of marijuana if elected president but his company, Perry Johnson Registrars, has a Cannabis and Hemp division that has provided quality and safety certification to both medical and recreational marijuana businesses for the ISO 9001 and ISO 22000 standard.

Doug Burgum (R)

As Governor of North Dakota, Doug Burgum has decriminalized marijuana possession, pardoned individuals for low-level marijuana offenses, and has signed off on bills that have increased the THC limits for medical marijuana uses. But he has yet to publicly comment what his plans are for marijuana use if elected president and has also previously stated that he doesn’t want to see full legalization.

Larry Elder speaking at the 2016 FreedomFest at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, Nevada/ Photo by Gage Skidmore

Larry Elder speaking at the 2016 FreedomFest at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, Nevada/ Photo by Gage Skidmore

Larry Elder (R)

Conservative radio broadcaster Larry Elder has stated on multiple instances that he hopes to legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis use rather than criminalizing it, a policy that he was criticized for by other Republicans during his failed run in the 2021 California recall election.

Will Hurd (R)

When it comes specifically to his presidential run, Will Hurd has not commented, but during his time as a representative for Texas’s 23rd congressional district, he voted against both the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act and the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act. He was also previously rated at 17% by the National Cannabis Industry Association and at 0% by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson speaking with the media at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa / Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson speaking with the media at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa / Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

Asa Hutchinson (R)

Hutchinson has stated during his current campaign trail to be in support of medical marijuana, stating that it “does provide relief” and while he isn’t interested in doing more broader cannabis reform, he believes that our democracy is not going to fall if they did legalize marijuana.” This is in stark contrast to many of the actions and policies that he enforced throughout his entire pollical career as a former Governor, DHS Undersecretary, and the even the head of the DEA, creating some hesitation and doubt from critics.

Francis Suarez (R)

Suarez, the Mayor of Miami, has stated as recently as last month that the federal government needs to step its game with federal legalization, adding that the lack of federal legalization has prohibited cannabis businesses from accessing the banking system. Those his time as Mayor of Miami has resulted in critics acknowledging that he previously had done little to help marijuana-related businesses in his city.

Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina/ Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore via Creativ Commons CC 2.0

Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina/ Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore via Creativ Commons CC 2.0

Tim Scott (R)

The South Carolina State Senator has not yet mentioned what his stance on marijuana will be if he is elected president, but was openly critical of The SAFE Act and voted against protections for medical marijuana laws at the state level from interference at the state level.

Photo of Chris Christie by Gage Skidmore via Creative Commons CC2.0

Photo of Chris Christie by Gage Skidmore via Creative Commons CC2.0

Chris Christie (R)

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie stated at a town hall event that he would end the war on drugs by finding a treatment-based approach for people that are experiencing addiction but has also been openly opposed to the legalization of marijuana and has expressed interest in increasing criminal charges against individuals who are caught selling drugs.

Nikki Haley, Former Governor of South Carolina and Former Ambassador to the United Nations. Photo By Gage Skidmore, via Creative Commons CC BY-SA 3.0,

Nikki Haley, Former Governor of South Carolina and Former Ambassador to the United Nations. Photo By Gage Skidmore, via Creative Commons CC BY-SA 3.0,

Nikki Haley (R)

Former Ambassador to the United Nations and Governor of South Carolina has stated that she considers marijuana legalization to be something that should be decided at the state level, meaning that little would probably change at the federal level during a Haley presidency.

Photo of Mike Pence By Gage Skidmore CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Mike Pence By Gage Skidmore CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Mike Pence (R)

The Former Vice President has not mentioned what his stance on marijuana would be if elected president but has previously spoken out against any reforms at the federal level and during his time as governor of Indiana, reclassified possession of more than 30 grams of marijuana from s class D misdemeanor to a class A along with having plans to create more serious penalties for canibus-related offenses.

Photo of Vivek Ramaswamy by Gage Skidmore via Creative Commons CC2.0

Photo of Vivek Ramaswamy by Gage Skidmore via Creative Commons CC2.0

Vivek Ramaswamy (R)

Ramaswamy’s campaign has stated that he is in favor of federally legalizing marijuana and allowing veterans with PTSD to treat themselves with psychedelics and has also stated that broader reform of drug use would be an part of his broader strategy. Though there is currently a lack of clarity about what that reform would look like beyond marijuana and he has mentioned that his plan regarding deregulation would take place over a long period of time, something that might be hard to implement in a 4-8 year presidency where he would presumably face constant opposition in congress from more hardline republicans.

Photo of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis courtesy of U.S. Secretary of Defense, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis courtesy of U.S. Secretary of Defense, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Ron DeSantis (R)

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis stated at a campaign event in South Carolina back in June that marijuana reform would not be on the agenda if elected and has passed multiple bills restricting advertising and employment policies for medical marijuana businesses at the state level during his time as the governor of Florida, leaving open the possibility to pass similar bills at the federal level.

Photo of former President Donald Trump By Gage Skidmore CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Photo of former President Donald Trump By Gage Skidmore CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Donald Trump (R)

Former President Trump has gone as far to say that he would consider the death penalty for drug dealers, an extreme policy that he has claimed is the only way to stop addiction. Critics of the former president have pointed out the hypocrisy of the proposal since if it was in effect during his first term in office, it would have resulted in the execution of Alice Johnson, a woman who Trump pardoned over her involvement in a cocaine trafficking ring back in the 1990s.

Regardless of who ends up on the presidential ballot next year and who ends up winning the general election next November, it is still entirely possible that we could see more changes at the state level. Most noteworthy, recreational marijuana could soon become ​​a possibility in Florida due to a proposed initiative that has currently received almost a million signatures, allowing it to qualify for the general election in 2024.

Overall, the chances of us seeing federal legalization of medical or recreational cannabis do not appear to be very likely at this time based on the current frontrunners. But then again, anything is possible and a lot of things can change in the next fifteen months.

AJ Favorito is a freelance writer, photographer, and filmmaker specializing in comedy and animation. 

Works Cited

“The 2024 Presidential Candidates NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist National Poll.” Marist Poll, 21 June 2023, maristpoll.marist.edu/polls/the-2024-presidential-candidates/.

Adams, Benjamin. “Federal Cannabis Reform Not on the Agenda under a DeSantis Presidency.” Forbes, 30 June 2023, www.forbes.com/sites/benjaminadams/2023/06/29/cannabis-reform-under-desantis-presidency-would-be-nonexistent-norml-exec-says/?sh=561edb16175e.

“Biden & the Issues Facing the Nation NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist National Poll.” Marist Poll, 29 Mar. 2023, maristpoll.marist.edu/polls/biden-the-issues-facing-the-nation/.

Duggan, Wayne. “Will Biden Finally Reschedule Cannabis to Boost the Youth Vote in 2024?” Benzinga, 3 Apr. 2023, www.benzinga.com/markets/cannabis/23/04/31637571/will-biden-finally-reschedule-cannabis-to-boost-the-youth-vote-in-2024.

Girod, Brandon. “Legal Recreational Marijuana Could Be a Reality in Florida. What to Know.” Pensacola News Journal, 6 June 2023, www.pnj.com/story/news/politics/2023/06/06/florida-recreational-weed-marijuana-legal-2024-ballot-what-to-know-explainer/70291423007/.

Jaeger, Kyle. “Chris Christie Vows to ‘end’ the Drug War If Elected President-but Only Partially.” Marijuana Moment, 21 June 2023, www.marijuanamoment.net/chris-christie-vows-to-end-the-drug-war-if-elected-president-but-only-partially/.

Jaeger, Kyle. “RFK Jr.. Pledges to Legalize Marijuana and Psychedelics, Using Revenue to Fund Farms Where People Recovering from Drug Addiction Can Grow Organic Food.” Marijuana Moment, 29 June 2023, www.marijuanamoment.net/rfk-jr-pledges-to-legalize-marijuana-and-psychedelics-using-revenue-to-fund-farms-where-people-recovering-from-drug-addiction-can-grow-organic-food/.

Jaeger, Kyle. “Trump Defends His Proposed Death Penalty for Drug Sellers before Being Reminded That Woman He Pardoned Would Be Killed.” Marijuana Moment, 22 June 2023, www.marijuanamoment.net/trump-defends-his-proposed-death-penalty-for-drug-sellers-before-being-reminded-that-woman-he-pardoned-would-be-killed/.

Jaeger, Kyle. “Where Presidential Candidate Marianne Williamson Stands on Marijuana.” Marijuana Moment, 4 July 2023, www.marijuanamoment.net/where-presidential-candidate-marianne-williamson-stands-on-marijuana/.

Owusu, Tony. “Ron DeSantis Is Making Life Tough for the Cannabis Industry in Florida.” TheStreet, 8 Aug. 2023, www.thestreet.com/politics/ron-desantis-vs-cannabis.

Adlin, Ben. “GOP Candidate Ramaswamy Supports Federal Marijuana Legalization and Allowing Veterans to Use Psychedelics.” Marijuana Moment, 15 Aug. 2023, www.marijuanamoment.net/gop-candidate-ramaswamy-supports-federal-marijuana-legalization-and-allowing-veterans-to-use-psychedelics/.

Jaeger, Kyle. “Republican Presidential Candidate Francis Suarez Says Feds Must ‘catch up’ on Marijuana, despite Mixed Record as Miami Mayor.” Marijuana Moment, 24 July 2023, www.marijuanamoment.net/republican-presidential-candidate-francis-suarez-says-feds-must-catch-up-on-marijuana-despite-mixed-record-as-miami-mayor/.

Jaeger, Kyle. “Republican Presidential Candidate Nikki Haley Says Marijuana Legalization Is ‘best Decided’ at the State Level.” Marijuana Moment, 29 May 2023, www.marijuanamoment.net/republican-presidential-candidate-nikki-haley-says-marijuana-legalization-is-best-decided-at-the-state-level/.

Jaeger, Kyle. “Where Presidential Candidate Asa Hutchinson Stands on Marijuana.” Marijuana Moment, 9 May 2023, www.marijuanamoment.net/where-presidential-candidate-asa-hutchinson-stands-on-marijuana/.

Jaeger, Kyle. “Where Presidential Candidate Doug Burgum Stands on Marijuana.” Marijuana Moment, 4 July 2023, www.marijuanamoment.net/where-presidential-candidate-doug-burgum-stands-on-marijuana/.

Jaeger, Kyle. “Where Presidential Candidate Mike Pence Stands on Marijuana.” Marijuana Moment, 12 June 2023, www.marijuanamoment.net/where-presidential-candidate-mike-pence-stands-on-marijuana/.

Jaeger, Kyle. “Where Presidential Candidate Tim Scott Stands on Marijuana.” Marijuana Moment, 23 May 2023, www.marijuanamoment.net/where-presidential-candidate-tim-scott-stands-on-marijuana/.

“Larry Elder’s Policy on Marijuana.” iSideWith, www.isidewith.com/candidates/larry-elder/policies/healthcare/marijuana. Accessed 27 Aug. 2023.

“PJR – Cannabis Standards Cannabis Programs.” PJR, Perry Johnson Registrars, Inc., www.pjr.com/standards/cannabis. Accessed 27 Aug. 2023.

“The Voter’s Self Defense System.” Vote Smart, justfacts.votesmart.org/candidate/116911/will-hurd?categoryId=101&type=V%2CS%2CR%2CE%2CF%2CP. Accessed 27 Aug. 2023.

Wiley, Hannah. “Ca Recall Candidate Blasts Larry Elder over Drug Legalization | The …” The Sacramento Bee, McClatchy, 25 Aug. 2021, www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article253752283.html.