Nancy Pelosi backs California’s legal pot proposition

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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks to the media during her weekly news conference at the US Capitol, May 19, 2016 in Washington, DC.

WASHINGTON — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Friday she plans to vote in favor of a California proposition to legalize marijuana.

“I will vote for it, but I have not made a public statement about it until right this very second,” Pelosi told the Los Angeles Times, declining to elaborate further.

California’s Proposition 64 is one of 17 such questions the state’s voters face in this election. If the proposition passes, people 21 and older would be legally allowed to have and consume marijuana. The state already has approved medical usage of marijuana.

Pelosi had not previously weighed in on the measure, and her support for it makes her the highest-ranking, sitting elected official in either the Republican or Democratic parties to back the legalization of a drug the federal government currently considers a Schedule 1 narcotic — a classification that puts pot alongside heroin.

Pelosi’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Pelosi’s counterpart in the Senate, outgoing Senator Harry Reid, seemed unenthusiastic when asked about a similar measure in his home state of Nevada in August.

President Barack Obama’s administration also “steadfastly opposes legalization of marijuana.”

Pelosi represents California’s 12th district, a Democratic stronghold within the city of San Francisco.

The minority leader also backed a measure that would repeal the death penalty in California, another position at odds with some of her party, including Hillary Clinton, who supports the death penalty.


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