Bellows explained that she envisions herself as a Senate leader on marijuana reform.
“Right now on the Senate side, there doesn’t seem to be a leader who has the courage to move that forward,” Bellows said. “I would be that leader.”
Even so, this is a bold move for a US Senate candidate. As the ThinkProgress story notes,
"[N]o senator seems to have explicitly supported federal marijuana legalization, although some including Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Booker have at least spoken out against the current prohibition regime. Although several marijuana reform bills have been proposed in the House, none have been proposed in the Senate."Given such a cautious attitude in the Senate, why would a candidate choose to make marijuana legalization a campaign issue?
Shenna Bellows is no ordinary candidate, and this is no ordinary race. She describes herself as "Democrat. Libertarian. Progressive." She's been outspoken about the NSA, drones, and the Patriot Act- areas where she disagrees strongly with her opponent, Susan Collins. These stances are not always popular with Democrats, but they are principled positions. She's fond of saying "You may not always agree with me, but you will always know where I stand."
“I’m not gonna win by being overly cautious or afraid of what people think about who I am or what I represent,” Bellows said. “I may win by being bolder and more honest about the change this country needs. So supporting marijuana legalization is being smart on crime because there are real crimes that do harm to our communities, crimes against persons, that we absolutely need to address. And we need to fund our police departments and our local infrastructure. But when we waste government resources in locking nonviolent offenders up and more resources on spying on ordinary Americans, then that is reducing resources available to really focus on those people who would do us real harm.”Bellows sums it up this way:
“I mean when you have three U.S. presidents acknowledging marijuana use, while young, primarily black men, low-income men, are being locked up on a daily basis for the same behaviors, then something is dramatically wrong and needs to change.”What do you think?