NORML Releases Updated and Revised 2016 Congressional Scorecard

  • by Danielle Keane, NORML Political Director September 27, 2016

    FBScorecardToday is National Voter Registration Day and we are pleased to present this valuable voter education tool to the marijuana movement: NORML’s updated and revised 2016 Congressional Scorecard. The Scorecard is an all-encompassing database that assigns a letter grade of ‘A’ (the highest grade possible) to ‘F’ (the lowest grade possible) to members of Congress based on their comments and voting records on matters specific to marijuana policy.


    Of the 535 members of the 114th Congress:

    • 330 members (62%) received a passing grade of ‘C’ or higher (270 Representatives and 60 Senators)
    • Of these, 22 members (4%) received a grade of ‘A’ (20 Representatives and 2 Senators)
    • 254 members (47%) received a ‘B’ grade (218 Representatives and 36 Senators)
    • 54 members (10%) received a ‘C’ grade (32 Representatives and 22 Senators)
    • 172 members (32%) received a ‘D’ grade (149 Representatives and 23 Senators)
    • 32 members (6%) received a failing grade (16 Representatives and 16 Senators)
    • 60 Senators (60%) received a passing grade of a C or higher (Two A’s, 36 B’s, and 22 C’s)
    • 270 Representatives (62%) received a passing grade of a C or higher (20 A’s, 218 B’s, and 32 C’s)
    • Of the 233 Democrats in Congress, 215 (92%) received a passing grade of a ‘C’ or higher
    • Of the 302 Republicans in Congress, 113 members (37%) received a passing grade of ‘C’ or higher

    This analysis affirms that voters’ views on marijuana policy are well ahead of many of their federally elected officials. While the majority of Americans support legalizing the use and sale of cannabis for adults, only four percent of Congressional members voice support for this position. Approximately half (51%) of federal lawmakers favor liberalizing medical cannabis policies. However, this percentage remains far below the level of support frequently expressed by voters in state and national polls.

    Also evident is that Congressional support for marijuana law reform is largely a partisan issue. While more than nine out of ten Democrats express support for some level of reform, just over one-third of Republicans hold similar positions. This partisanship lies in contrast to voters’ sentiments, which tend to view the subject as a non-partisan issue. For example, recent polls from swing states show that super-majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents endorse medical marijuana legalization. Further, most Republican voters embrace principles of federalism with regard to cannabis policy. Nonetheless, Republican support for this position remains marginal among members of Congress.


    • An ‘A’ letter grade indicates that this member has publicly declared his/her support for the legalization and regulation of marijuana for adults.
    • A ‘B’ letter grade indicates that this member supports policies specific to the legalization of medical cannabis and/or the decriminalization of cannabis.
    • A ‘C’ letter grade indicates that this member has publicly declared his/her support for the ability of a state to move forward with cannabis law reform policies free from federal interference.
    • A ‘D’ letter grade indicates that this member has expressed no support for any significant marijuana law reform
    • An ‘F’ letter grade indicates that this member expresses significant and vocal opposition to marijuana law reform


    To find NORML’s grade for a specific member of Congress, please click here for the Senate scorecard and click here for the House scorecard. NORML’s full 2016 Congressional Scorecard and Executive Summary is available online here.

    16 Responses to “NORML Releases Updated and Revised 2016 Congressional Scorecard”

    1. Aaron says:

      I was kind of disappointed in the score card. I was hoping to see the scores of everyone on the ballots in November…

      • Jim says:

        Hear, hear!

        • Jim says:

          We gotta know where the challengers to these offices stand on marijuana, don’t we?

          • Julian says:

            Than let’s put our money where our mouth is and donate to NORML, because what you’re talking about is going to take action from every NORML member to vet our candidates and get quotes from them on drug policies. Invite them to attend educational events on marijuana policy. Ask them if they will take or have taken money from defense contractors in the opiate trade or synthetic cannabinoid industries. Register on their websites and set up meetings. Call them. Email them. It’s up to all of us.

            • Julian says:

              Incidentally, in cooperation with Texas NORML and Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, here is our Texas state voter guide;


              We still need to vet our candidates running against incumbents so look at the 5 basic questions asked to each candidate, screen shot it and keep it handy when we meet or speak with our candidates.
              If you live in another state, look at the policies you have, ones that are being introduced and think about realistic ways the laws can be improved on. For those of us in non-voter-initiative states we have to do more of pur fair share of bargaining with the Devil, but let’s not let compromise discourage us, merely empower us. In the words of Malala, tell your Congressman, “You will want this justice and education for your children.” _\|/_

    2. Mark I. says:

      Voters would like to accept what they see and hear about their candidates at face value, but political winds can sink any boyant idea. The feds made it clear in their schedule intransegence with cannabis having no medicinal value while their Institute of Health continues to develop cannabis based medicinal patents, patient care is for profit only.

    3. Julian says:

      Reading my Texas Republican district representative Lamar Smith’s comments with his F grade, knowing he is chair of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee already has me campaigning for Democratic candidate Tom Wakely;
      I’ll be meeting with him October 9th at a Marijuana Policy Training event in San Antonio. I will report his comments on the NORML blog with his approval.
      Where there are no Democratic caucuses we need to create them, but meanwhile do some good old fashioned citizen lobbying. We cannot allow our reps to continue to take money from Northrup Grumman, Insys, or any of the opiate peddling corruption rings that are killing Americans for profit, then turn around and lie and blame marijuana for the deaths and violence.
      We don’t need more drug bureaucracy with the “best” prosecutors, Drumph-Anslinger; We need legalized marijuana with revenue for public education.
      Let’s donate to NORML so we can vet potential candidates, at LEAST those running against the F and D scores!

    4. James says:

      Actually shocked of Georgia. Especially Perdue getting a B-. Think it’s time we go for a more national approach.

    5. Anonymous says:

      Term Limits for all elected officials!!!

    6. Steven says:

      Term Limits for all elected officials!!!

    7. Evening Bud says:

      These scorecards are really handy reference guides–thanks NORML for supplying them.

      I see that in my state of NM, most of the Senators and Congressmen are fairly enlightened–I think a couple of ’em may have evolved on the subject. In fact, only one of the five is a Republican, and he’s the only one with a poor grade, a D.

      This makes me even more motivated to call or email them again.

    8. Don M says:

      I am really surprised that Hillary Clinton seems to be unable to figure out how to win against Donald Trump. The easiest thing she could possibly do would simply be to get behind legalizing marijuana and idiotic war on drugs. it is obvious that Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders and Gary Johnson are popular because of their views regarding marijuana.

      Chelsea Clinton is not helping her mother win this election by seeing that marijuana can kill people. I mean “DUH”!!!

      • Julian says:

        After Gary couldn’t name a single world leader and Trump… (oh Jesus… Trump…) the “Law and Order” candidate expressed more drug war bureaucracy by saying hell get the “best” prosecutors, Hillary wins by attrition by following President Obama’s “stay out if state law” “laboratories of Democracy” policy. Which goes to show; we can lead a horse to marijuana but we can’t fix STUPID.
        But Hillary could do a lot to help Democrats in Congress in states with initiatives where the vote is tight like Nevada and Arizona if she echoed Bernie’s famous statement during the next debate;
        “We can’t keep arresting nonviolent Americans in possession of marijuana while billionaire tax evaders like Trump keep getting a bail out.”

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