We are pleased to present this valuable voter education tool to the marijuana movement: NORML’s 2016 Congressional Scorecard. The Scorecard is an all-encompassing database that assigns a letter grade 'A' through 'F' to members of Congress based on their marijuana-related comments and voting records.
With the 2016 presidential election drawing closer and statewide marijuana initiatives qualified for the ballot in nine states, we need YOU to make it out to the polls to support ending cannabis prohibition. Join us in celebrating National Voter Registration Day by double-checking your status as a voter and encouraging your friends and family to do the same. Take a look at how we graded your members of Congress and bring that information with you to the polls on Election Day!
Now more than ever, there exists majority public support for ending America's nearly century-long experiment with cannabis prohibition and replacing it with a taxed and regulated adult marketplace. Although many members of Congress are increasingly becoming aware of this changing public sentiment, federal leadership on the issue of marijuana law reform is still sorely lacking. The ongoing conflict between state and federal cannabis policy remains an unnecessary impediment to those jurisdictions wishing to fully explore the wide range of regulatory options before them. Ultimately, this is a conflict that can only be resolved by Congress, which possesses the authority to amend federal law.
Below are the key findings from NORML’s updated Congressional Scorecard. Among the 535 members of the 114th Congress:
It is clear from this analysis that support for substantive marijuana law reform is far less pronounced among elected officials than it is among the voters they represent. While greater than 6 in 10 American adults believe that "the use of marijuana should be made legal," only 4 percent of Congressional members received an 'A' grade based upon their voting record and/or public statements.
Also evident is that Congressional support for marijuana law reform is largely a partisan issue. While more than nine out of ten Democrats express support for some level of reform, just over one-third of Republicans hold similar positions. This partisanship lies in contrast to voters' sentiments, which tend to view the subject as a non-partisan issue. For example, recent polls from swing states show that super-majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents endorse medical marijuana legalization. Further, most Republican voters embrace principles of federalism with regard to cannabis policy. Nonetheless, Republican support for this position remains marginal among members of Congress.
The Congressional Scorecard grades members of the United States House and Senate on an 'A' to 'F' scale.
NORML's grading is based upon members' 2015 and 2016 voting records, whether or not a member has sponsored or cosponsored legislation specific to federal marijuana law reform, whether or not a member has sponsored marijuana-related amendments, and/or their public statements or testimony.
Despite a number of marijuana--related measures pending before the 114th Congress, no bill has yet to receive a vote in committee or on the floor. By contrast, members of both chambers have decided on several cannabis-specific amendments attached to various appropriations bills.
To calculate House members 2016 grades, NORML weighed four marijuana-specific votes:
To calculate Senate members 2016 grades, NORML weighed six marijuana-specific votes:
Voters' opinions with regard to cannabis policy are well ahead of that of their elected officials. While many advocates have been working tirelessly to amend their local and state marijuana, proponents must also engage in concerted efforts to educate federally elected officials. Here's how:
The information provided in the scorecard will periodically be updated as needed. Any questions, comments, or concerns specific to the scorecard are welcome and can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Important and timely publications such as this are only made possible when concerned citizens become involved with NORML. Please consider making a donation today so we may continue to work towards legalization and providing you the tools necessary to be an informed voter.