Marijuana Policy Project
Curved Papers

Long Out of Congress, Now Former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle Wants to Legalize It

Former South Dakota Sen. Tom Daschle: "Legalization of cannabis, far from being unpopular with voters, is already overwhelmingly supported by Americans."

Former Senate minority leader Tom Daschle is another high-level politician who's "evolved" on marijuana legalization. Now, 16 years after he lost his last Senate race, Daschle is on the advisory board of Clever Leaves, an international cannabis company with offices in Arizona, Toronto, Bogota, Frankfort and Lisbon. He's also affiliated with Black Swan Holdings. Both companies are headed by Kyle Detwiler.

In an op-ed posted at The Hill on September 5, Daschle wrote: 

"While I did not advocate for legal cannabis while I was a senator, my viewpoint has vastly evolved in recent years, and my passion for improving how our society delivers health care as well as pioneering social and political change has never been more apparent. I'm thrilled to be able to work firsthand in driving this change through my role on the board of advisers at Clever Leaves International Inc., a multinational operator and licensed producer of medical cannabis [that] has a central goal to 'change lives' by enabling access to safe and effective medical cannabis treatments for patients around the world, and I believe in that goal. I'm inspired by its mission and aim to use my political platform to stand by its cause." 

It's unclear what Daschle, who represented South Dakota in the House and Senate from 1979-2004, did to advance marijuana legalization while he was in Congress. Both Dashle and former Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner have assumed roles in the cannabis industry post-Congress. Boehner, who also had a marijuana awakening, is on the board of Acreage Holdings, one of the largest multi-state operators in the country.

In addition, former Rep. Joseph Crowley also joined Black Swan's advisory board after losing his House seat to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Daschle also stated in his article:

"For the next president, it’s time to legalize cannabis... Politicians on the fringes will rail that nobody wants legalization and everyone fears it. Let’s stand up and call that what it is: nonsense. Legalization of cannabis, far from being unpopular with voters, is already overwhelmingly supported by Americans and well on its way to being a de facto reality in most states... 

"The demand for the reevaluation of the cannabis regulatory frameworks is imperative as our country begins the recovery process from the COVID-19 pandemic. Now more than ever, states need new businesses, new jobs and additional tax revenues. They need the next president to legalize cannabis, and the sooner, the better."

How do you feel about federal and state legislators who failed to address legalization efforts while in office, but seek to make money on marijuana when they leave Washington and statehouses? Leave a comment!

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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.