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NORML Grades Governors Based on Cannabis Policy

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On Jan. 29, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) released its annual scorecard on governors’ cannabis policies. The 2020 Gubernatorial Scorecard assigned grades ‘A’ through ‘F’ to governors based upon voting records, comments on cannabis and policy.

The key findings of the scorecard to take away are listed below:

  • Thirty-two U.S. governors received a passing grade of ‘C’ or higher (22 Democrats, 10 Republicans); last year, only 27 Governors received a grade of ‘C’ or higher.
  •  Of these, nine US governors—all Democrats—received an ‘A’ grade.
  • Twelve governors received a ‘B’ grade (11 Democrats, one Republican)
  • Eleven governors received a ‘C’ grade (nine Republicans, two Democrats)
  • Ten governors—nine Republicans and one Democrat—received a ‘D’ grade
  •  Eight governors— all Republicans—received an ‘F’ grade
  • Among Democratic Governors, 39 percent received an ‘A.’ Ninety-six percent of Democratic Governors received a grade of ‘C’ or higher.
  • Among Republican Governors, only 37 percent received a grade of a ‘C’ or higher. Thirty percent received a failing grade.

NORML executives explained how currently, nearly two-thirds of governors received a passing grade, signaling a growing acceptance of cannabis. “Most legislative activity specific to marijuana policy takes place at the state level and America’s governors are our nation’s most powerful state-elected officials,” stated NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri. “These 50 lawmakers play a key role in whether or not marijuana policy reform advances at the state level so it is vitally important that reformers are aware of where they stand on the issue.”

As you’d expect, cannabis-friendly governors such as J.B. Pritzker and Jared Polis received an ‘A’ grade, while governors in restrictive states such as Eric Holcomb and Brad Little received an ‘F’ grade on cannabis policy.

Despite the recently growing acceptance of cannabis and hemp laws among Republicans, historically, the party has been less in favor of cannabis laws than Democrats. That is all set to change, however, with leading Republicans such as Rep. Matt Gaetz or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell shifting towards approval of cannabis and hemp reform at the federal level.

Download the PDF version of the 2020 Gubernatorial Scorecard here. Read the Executive Summary of how governors were graded here.

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