Fact-Checking Elizabeth Warren on the Campaign Trail

Massachusetts decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana in 2008. But Ms. Warren, who first ran for the Senate in 2012, vacillated on a ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana and opposed legalization in general.

“No, I don’t think it should be legalized,” she said in a Senate Democratic primary debate in October 2011. “Medical marijuana is one thing, but not generally, no.”

In April 2012, Ms. Warren then declined to take a position on the ballot initiative, before supporting legalized medical use in a radio interview that September. The measure ultimately passed.

A few years later, Massachusetts considered another ballot initiative to approve recreational use. Asked in 2015 about her previous opposition to legalization, Ms. Warren did not deny the premise of the question and said she was “open” to it after learning from other states that had done so. A year later, she repeated that stance, saying she was receptive, but deflected when asked whether she would vote yes on the initiative.

Activists told Marijuana Moment, a website that reports on cannabis-related news, that Ms. Warren never formally endorsed that initiative. But they said that they appreciated her evolution on the issue and leadership on the topic in Congress.

What Ms. Warren Said

“When I was a girl, a full-time minimum-wage job in America would support a family of three. It would put food on the table, pay the utilities and cover a mortgage. Today a full-time minimum-wage job in America will not keep a mama and a baby out of poverty.”
Fairfax, Va., in May

Ms. Warren often cites this statistic after recounting a story about her mother, who at 50 years old got a minimum-wage job at Sears after her father had a heart attack.

That year was most likely 1961 or 1962 — Ms. Warren’s mother was born in 1912 — when the minimum wage was $1.15 (about $9.80 today) for an annual paycheck of $2,392, assuming a 40-hour workweek. That would have been just above the official poverty line for a female-led, three-person household in 1961 or 1962 ($2,164 and $2,167).

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