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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez finds a Republican ally for legal pot

Two House millennials on opposite sides of the political spectrum have proved it's possible to find common g...

Posted: Jan 12, 2019 5:28 AM
Updated: Jan 12, 2019 5:28 AM

Two House millennials on opposite sides of the political spectrum have proved it's possible to find common ground, at least when it comes to cannabis policy.

Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York recently tapped Dan Riffle, a former federal policy director at the Marijuana Policy Project, as a senior counsel and policy adviser. When she tweeted out a story about the hire from High Times, she added, "#LegalizeIt, and demand justice for communities ravaged by the War on Drugs."

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Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida retweeted her and added, "You had me at hello."

That a self-described democratic socialist can share a drug policy stance with a man once called the "Trumpiest congressman in Trump's Washington" by GQ might have something to do with their ages. Millennials are more supportive of legalizing marijuana than older generations, with 74% backing it in a 2018 Pew poll. Ocasio-Cortez, 29, and Gaetz, 36, are in line with their peers.

And although Democrats have led Republicans when it comes to backing legalization, Republican support has grown. In 2017 a Gallup poll found a majority of Republicans supported legalization for the first time. As of October 2018, 75% of Democrats, 71% of independents and 53% of Republicans supported legalization, per Gallup.

Gaetz represents the shift in his party. In 2018, he and Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts teamed up on legislation that would require the Veterans Affairs Department to survey veterans on marijuana use and protect the benefits of veterans who disclose their marijuana use to VA doctors.

Gaetz also backed the Medical Cannabis Research Act, the first such legislation related to marijuana ever considered by a Republican-led Judiciary Committee, his office said.

"This drug should not be in the same category as heroin and LSD, and we do not need to continue with a policy that turns thousands of young people into felons every year," Gaetz said in 2017. "Nor do we need to punish the millions of people who are sick and seeking medical help -- from pain, from muscle wasting, from chemotherapy-induced nausea."

Former House Speaker John Boehner also came out in support of weed. The Ohio Republican was opposed while he was the speaker, but last April he took a role on the board of advisers for Acreage Holdings, a cannabis company, and has spoken at cannabis investment events.

Though Republicans like Gaetz might be rare in Congress now, should his party continue to evolve on cannabis policy, issues like medical marijuana, the war on drugs and legalization could one day become more bipartisan.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 154411

Reported Deaths: 3836
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10332104
Hinds10190199
Harrison7244111
Jackson6521124
Rankin5805103
Lee523695
Madison4964107
Forrest388286
Jones367788
Lauderdale3575147
Lafayette334952
Washington3241108
Lamar296650
Oktibbeha251362
Lowndes243864
Bolivar242984
Panola229653
Neshoba2241118
Marshall221250
Leflore207791
Monroe203978
Pontotoc202929
Lincoln194865
Sunflower192555
Warren178757
Tate177051
Union171026
Copiah167040
Pike164758
Yazoo158840
Scott157930
Itawamba156135
Alcorn154828
Pearl River154168
Coahoma151943
Simpson151953
Prentiss149531
Adams144451
Grenada142845
Leake139444
Holmes132361
Tippah128030
Covington127939
George126425
Winston124526
Hancock123640
Wayne120623
Marion118646
Attala117534
Tishomingo110842
Chickasaw109032
Newton108029
Tallahatchie97727
Clay93427
Clarke93053
Jasper84822
Stone80015
Calhoun78113
Walthall77229
Montgomery75825
Carroll74015
Lawrence73414
Smith72816
Noxubee72517
Yalobusha72328
Perry68126
Tunica62319
Greene61222
Claiborne58916
Jefferson Davis58817
Amite55814
Humphreys54719
Benton49918
Quitman4977
Webster46414
Kemper44718
Wilkinson40422
Jefferson36411
Franklin3535
Choctaw3507
Sharkey32317
Issaquena1204
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 249524

Reported Deaths: 3578
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson33064500
Mobile19951362
Madison13596148
Tuscaloosa13246154
Montgomery12435236
Shelby1061677
Baldwin889098
Lee781466
Morgan686150
Etowah643966
Calhoun6430121
Marshall635355
Houston537738
DeKalb492236
Cullman451542
Limestone433345
St. Clair432555
Lauderdale422354
Elmore412964
Walker3710111
Talladega359354
Jackson329823
Colbert329642
Blount299740
Autauga278042
Franklin256434
Coffee248315
Dale236254
Chilton227438
Dallas226832
Russell22383
Covington220434
Escambia198931
Tallapoosa184391
Chambers177950
Pike159914
Clarke159819
Marion143636
Winston135123
Lawrence131636
Pickens125718
Geneva12438
Marengo123124
Bibb119617
Barbour117811
Butler117842
Randolph104921
Cherokee103424
Hale97831
Fayette92516
Washington92219
Clay92024
Henry8756
Lowndes80229
Monroe79011
Cleburne77814
Macon74522
Crenshaw72030
Bullock70219
Perry6906
Lamar6898
Conecuh68814
Wilcox64218
Sumter58622
Greene42818
Choctaw42713
Coosa3544
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