Congressional candidates nationwide are emphasizing their support for marijuana legalization this campaign season, and if recent House primaries are any indication, that strategy is meeting with impressive results.
El Paso city councilman and marijuana legalization supporter Beto O'Rourke ousted eight-term incumbent House Rep. Silvestre Reyes in a Texas Democratic primary on Tuesday, in part as the fallout to a drug policy controversy with roots that go back years. Earlier this month Ellen Rosenblum won the Oregon attorney general's office on a pledge to make enforcement of marijuana laws a low priority.
In the race to replace Rep. Edolphus Towns in New York, frontrunning candidate Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries has spearheaded efforts in the state legislature to reform marijuana enforcement policies. Sean Bielat, a Republican running to replace retiring Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank, found a rare piece of common ground with Frank on drug policy when Bielat ran against him in 2010.
Of course, drug policy reformers aren't all on a winning streak: In Texas, Sheriff Richard Mack, who supports legalization, received just 17 percent of the vote in the Republican primary race against longtime incumbent and drug war supporter Rep. Lamar Smith. But drug policy advocates are already hailing the recent election results as evidence of the political viability of legalization for the drug.