Andy Caffrey, a candidate for US Congress in California's 2nd Congressional District, made an unusual campaign promise in a recent interview with The Politico: if he's elected to Congress by the people of the second district, he'll smoke a marijuana cigarette right on the steps of the Capitol Building in Washington as an act of civil disobedience against marijuana prohibition.
"I’m willing to get arrested to fight for our rights, to defend our rights as Californians to consume medicine. If I have to do it, I’ll smoke a joint on the Capitol steps and get arrested to draw national attention to what’s going on."
Caffrey is running for Congress as a Democrat in the crowded CA-2 race for the open seat left by retiring Rep. Wally Herger (R-CA). Although multiple sources, including The Huffington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, and Outside the Beltway are saying that retiring Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) represents the 2nd District, which covers a vast stretch of Northern California, she in fact represents the nearby 6th District, while Herger represents CA-2.
On his personal Facebook page, Andy Caffrey describes his political views as "Monstrously Green in Democratic Primary." While environmental issues take center stage in Caffrey's policy agenda, they're not the only thing that's green. He says, "I’m fighting for our right to consume marijuana at will without any criminal penalties. Just don’t say I’m advocating for children to use it." Caffrey, who uses marijuana medicinally for PTSD, anxiety, and attention deficit disorder, has already drawn attention from the San Francisco Chronicle for lighting up and smoking a joint on the campaign trail more than once.
The Chronicle adds:
"In just about any other congressional race in the country, Caffrey's puff would be launch-the-TV-attack-ads controversial. But not in the liberal Second District, which stretches from the Golden Gate Bridge through America's pot breadbasket to Oregon. The legalization question has been raised in nearly every debate - and drawn mostly amens... Being pro-legalization in the Second District is not a hippie position. It's rooted in worrying about increasing violence connected with illegal grow operations, concerns about the environmental impact of pot farms and, most of all, the economy."
Outside the Beltway's take is:
"While [Caffrey]’s unlikely to win the election, it’s also unlikely that his position on marijuana is all that unpopular with his potential constituents."
A life-long environmental activist with a heavy focus on combating climate change, on his campaign website, Caffrey outlines what he describes as his agenda for "A New Green America," which includes fighting "the climate crisis" as an existential threat, rebuilding American infrastructure, raising taxes on the rich, expanding social welfare programs, ending US military intervention overseas, abolishing corporate personhood, ending the War on Drugs, prosecuting the Bush Administration for war crimes, and comprehensive electoral reform that includes paper ballots and ranked-preference voting.
In his own words:
"We have to redirect trillions of dollars away from war, away from the war on drugs, and we have to get it back from the rich to rebuild our infrastructure all over the country. We have to become locally sustainable. We have to look at food security, water security, and we have to have a safety net that’s going to take care of everybody."