Craig Bowden, US Congress, District 1

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Why did you decide to run for public office?

The main reason I chose to run for office, is because I have seen the freedoms I enjoyed in my youth being evaporated by the current government. When I look at my children, I want them to have the same opportunities I had, and that is not possible with the current conditions.

What is your background? Profession, skills, etc.? 

I served nearly 8 years as a Marine Corps infantryman, 3 years at the Internal Revenue Service in the Business Division, own my own business, and also have worked in the private security industry.

What is your general experience with drug policy and substance abuse? 

I am fairly familiar as I have lobbied the local government in Utah on issues like legalization of medicinal cannabis. I am also a Criminal Justice Major that sees the overlapping trend between non-violent offenses and high incarceration rates.

Do you support the creation of a medical cannabis program? Can you expand upon your general feelings about medical cannabis?

I am 100% behind medical cannabis efforts. I have advocated for such since 2014, and continue to this day. I firmly believe this is something that should be optional and decided between doctor and patient.

What steps would you take to reduce the number of overdose deaths? Do you have any personal experiences with overdose?

Legalization of marijuana would be a great first step in reducing overdose death. As for personal experience, I was a victim of opioid overdose myself. I became addicted during the rehabilitation process of a severe knee injury. I abused them regularly until they nearly took my life. I have been clean for just over 6 years.

Do you agree with this analysis? Please feel free to elaborate.

Not only have studies been done that show that there is evidence present of medical cannabis use, but if we would be able to deschedule cannabis, even more research could be conducted.

Are you familiar with the principle of harm reduction? Do you have any experience with harm reduction policies? Please feel free to elaborate.

I am somewhat familiar with the concept, and know that we should focus more on rehabilitation than incarceration. Punishment is not the answer.

What are your general thoughts on the decriminalization of cannabis? Please elaborate.

Legalize or decriminalize. There are only two options that should be supported. If we choose to continue the failed policy, we will only continue to ruin peoples’ lives, at great cost to the taxpayer.

Are you interested in sponsoring drug policy reform legislation if you were elected? What would be some specific areas of focus or interest for you?

I would be happy to, and in fact, plan to.

Anything else?

I look forward to further discussion in this matter, and hope that everyone will see that the truest freedom is when we have the choice and direction of our own lives, including what type of medicine works best for our conditions. We either own ourselves or we don't. There is no middle ground in this.