A congressional candidate who attracted attention for an ad showing him smoking pot is making no apologies for his campaign stunt – and says he’ll “definitely” get high if he wins in the upcoming primary election.
Benjamin Thomas Wolf, a Democrat, is running against incumbent Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., for his Chicago seat in the Democratic primary election on March 20 in what would be his first step to becoming the “Cannabis Congressman.”
“I think it’s important that we actually start talking about legalizing cannabis,” Wolf said Wednesday on “Fox & Friends.” “This is medicine for tens of millions of people in America. It can bring billions of dollars in tax revenue to Illinois and really, it’s the first component to completely overhauling the criminal justice system in America.”
Wolf’s campaign ad has gone viral in recent days. The ad is the banner on Wolf's campaign website, and shows the candidate sitting in front of an American flag holding a lit joint.
Medical marijuana is legal in Illinois. Recreational use is now, however, it has been partially decriminalized. A person carrying 10 grams or less of marijuana in Illinois would be subject to a fine for a civil violation, but no jail time. However, any more than 10 grams becomes a misdemeanor or a felony with a risk of up to 30 years of incarceration.
This year, Illinois plans to have a referendum, where voters could have a chance to voice their opinions on the legalization of marijuana for recreational use on the November 2018 ballot.
When asked why his political ad was an image of him breaking state law, he said “I’m okay with that. I see this as an act of civil disobedience.”
Wolf said Wednesday that while he does not use marijuana on a daily basis, it has become “a routine part” of his life, noting that he did not smoke cannabis during his time at the FBI. Wolf said using marijuana has made him a “better” and “healthier person.”
“The cannabis community is proud to have someone standing up for them,” Wolf said.
Wolf said he hoped to go to Washington to change cannabis laws, but also to advocate for universal health care and free education.
On March 20, Wolf is facing off against Quigley; Sameena Mustafa—a Muslim campaigning on Medicare for all, protecting net neutrality, and climate change among other things; and Steve Schwartzberg, also running on universal health care, and investing infrastructure.
“I think the Democratic Party is looking for new leadership and I look forward to leading the pact,” Wolf said. “I hope to be the cannabis candidate turned into a cannibus congressman.”
And when asked if he would celebrate a potential primary win by getting high, Wolf said “definitely.”