Rebel of the Week: Andy Caffrey, The Congressional Candidate Who Promises To Smoke A Joint On Capitol Hill

May 23rd, 2012

Andy Caffrey smokes cannabis in Fairfax as fellow CA-2 House candidate John Lewallen watches. John Storey / San Francisco Chronicle

Andy Caffrey, a Democratic candidate (with a heavy Green Party feel) for US Congress in California’s crowded second district race recently promised The Politico that if he wins election to Congress, he’ll draw attention to the nation’s failed 40-year-old War on Drugs by smoking a marijuana joint right on the steps of the US Capitol building in Washington…

“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, who uses marijuana medicinally for PTSD and Attention Deficit Disorder, has already lit up more than once while on the campaign trail, attracting The San Francisco Chronicle’s attention:

“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.”

It’s rare enough for a politician to follow through on a campaign promise after the election, but we can tell from his campaign trail toking, that Andy Caffrey is already walking the walk before the election and has the stones to keep his promise to get stoned on Capitol Hill.  Why take such bold actions and make such bold promises? Caffrey 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.” And he’s running for Congress. How awesome is that?

We’ve just got to be at a critical tipping point for public opinion and public policy on marijuana use. There are just so many different signs and this is the latest. We’ve got a candidate for Congress literally smoking joints on the campaign trail and promising to smoke one on the steps of the Capitol if elected. Total rebel. I wonder if this guy can get Snoop Dogg’s endorsement.

On his campaign website, Caffrey outlines what he describes as his agenda for A New Green America, which includes fighting the climate crisis as threat number one, 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 election reform that includes paper ballots and ranked-choice voting. It’s a real mixed bag from a libertarian perspective, but there is some good stuff in there along with the dubious. Somebody’s got to tell this guy about the Federal Reserve and get him on board with sound money.

But agree or disagree with any or all of Caffrey’s positions, you’ve got to admit that a candidate for Congress lighting up on the campaign trail and promising to smoke some green at the Capitol Building is pretty gutsy and rebellious. It’s just not something a “respectable” politician would do. But then again “respectable” politicians would do and have done all the things that got America to the state it’s in today. Maybe now’s not the time for “respectable.” Maybe now’s the time for rebels.

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About the Author: Wes

Wesley Messamore, 24, is an independent journalist and political activist who believes in the Founding Father's vision of a free, enlightened, and moral America. He also blogs at