Presidential Candidate Howie Hawkins Favors Marijuana Legaization, Green New Deal

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Howie Hawkins. Campaign Photo.

When people in Warren County cast their vote for President of the United States this year, there will be four choices. In addition to President Donald Trump being the nominee for the Republican party and Former Vice President Joe Biden being the nominee for the Democrat party, Dr. Jo Jorgensen is the nominee for the Libertarian party and Howie Hawkins is the nominee for the Green party.

If you were unaware that there were more than two candidates for President, you aren't alone. There is currently a rule that states a candidate can't participate in Presidential debates unless the poll numbers show that at least 15 percent of the people support them. The Libertarian and Green parties went to court earlier this year in an effort to get that rule changed, but they were unsuccessful. As a result, only Trump and Biden are featured in the debates.

Warren County Online News will publish articles over the next couple of weeks about the third-party candidates to help voters be more informed about their stance on many of the important issues. Warren County Online News does not endorse any candidate.

Howie Hawkins, presidential candidate for the Green Party, said he would push for the legalization of marijuana for both medical and recreational uses in all 50 states.  He said he feels like marijuana should be taxed and regulated like other things such as alcohol. 

Currently, medical marijuana is legal in Ohio.  However, it is not permitted to be burned.  Hawkins said that could be changed.  "They could take it off the controlled substance list federally and not make it a federal crime," he said.

When asked about how employment drug tests would be handled if marijuana was legalized, Hawkins said you could still test for drugs like you test for alcohol.  "You can't be drunk on the job," he said.  He also said you can't be high and work safely at a lot of jobs, but he said that would depend on the job and it would be up to the employer.  

Hawkins said people are given criminal records for marijuana and doesn't believe that makes any sense.  He believes that drug abuse should be treated as a health issue instead of a criminal issue.  He said that would go a long way to help the overcrowding of prisons and 45 percent of federal prisoners are currently incarcerated for drug-related offenses.  "I thing we have over sentenced on a lot of other crimes too," he said.

Hawkins favors have Medicare pay for all COVID-19 testing and treatments, as well as all emergency health care.   He said the Federal Reserve can create the money and spend it through the federal budget to cover it.   He said it's not a matter of cash, but a matter of actual resources and we have them.  

In addition to helping those who had COVID-19, Hawkins also has a plan to help Americans recover from the economic impact of the pandemic.  He said we need an emergency program with things like supplemental unemployment insurance from the federal government.   He said the federal government could pay rent and mortgages so small landlords and community banks don't get hammered.

While he believes that would help our economy in the short-term,  Hawkins favors the Green New Deal for long-term economic recovery.  He said the Green New Deal would invest trillions of dollars restructuring our economy for 100 percent green energy and zero emissions over the next decade.  "We've budgeted that out. It would create 38 million jobs. That would put the unemployed back to work..., "  he said.  He also said it would revive manufacturing because need new production systems to have zero emissions and would put Green New Deal factories in all the Rust Belt cities to make the economic transition.

Recently, some political candidates have chosen to distance themselves from the Green New Deal.  "I think the people are for it, but we're the only campaign that's for it," he said.  

Hawkins said he supports  the basic sentiment that the police should not abuse people, particularly black people.  He said he thinks Use of Force reforms is good, but he doesn't think it is enough.  He said the real issue is that the police are permitted to police themselves though Internal Affairs and he said that's how they get away with assaults and sometimes murders. "We call for community control of the police," he said.  Under Hawkins' plan, there would be police commissions with the power to hire and fire police chiefs, oversee budget and polices and investigate misconduct.

According to his website, Hawkins is in favor of monitoring and prosecuting white race terrorists.  When asked if he considers the violent protesters to be terrorists, he said anybody who uses violence for political ends on civilians is by definition a terrorist.   "Most of this is coming from these right-wing militias which aren't even legal in any state., he said.  He said you would think FBI would devote more resources to monitor prevent violence and that the attorney generals in the states should enforce their laws against private military units.

Hawkins isn't in favor of Stand Your Ground laws.  "Stand Your Ground law basically encourages people to shoot first and ask questions later," he said. He said there are other options like retreating and taking cover.  

When it comes to gun ownership,  Hawkins said he is happy with how the framework is set up by the Supreme Court, which says law abiding individuals have the right to firearms, but also says government has a right to regulate.  "I am for universal background checks.  I have no problem with waiting periods," he said.  

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