Shortly after mocking his rival’s pro-cannabis policies, GOP Senate contender Mehmet Oz is now lauding President Biden’s recent decision to pardon federal cannabis offenders.

After years of ignoring his campaign promise to reform the country’s outdated cannabis laws, Biden suddenly announced that he was planning to mass-pardon thousands of low-level cannabis offenders earlier this month. And in another surprising announcement, Dr. Oz, who is currently running against outspoken cannabis advocate John Fetterman (D) in the Pennsylvania Senate race, described Biden’s new cannabis pardon as a “rational move.” 

“Going to jail for marijuana is not a wise move for the country,” the celebrity doctor told NBC News last week. “I think folks who have used marijuana and that’s the only reason they’re in jail should not have those criminal — those rulings — held against them.”

Contrary to most other Republican politicians, Oz said that he broadly opposes federal mandatory minimum sentences for drug-related crimes. Fetterman, who is currently the Lt. Governor of Pennsylvania, has said that he actually supports reinstating some of these extreme penalties – but only against people who sell fentanyl.

Oz has a long history of speaking out about cannabis, but his views have been far from consistent. Back in 2017, before he was running for public office, the doctor called out the “hypocrisy around medical marijuana” during a Fox News interview. “People say marijuana is a gateway drug to narcotics,” he told the shocked hosts. “It may be the exit drug to get us out of the narcotic epidemic.”

But now that he is running as a Republican, Oz is embracing his party’s hardline love of prohibition. This spring, the former TV host told reporters that he thought legalizing adult-use cannabis in Pennsylvania was a bad idea, since weed would make people too lazy to go out and get jobs. And this summer, Oz’s campaign launched a bizarre ad mocking Fetterman’s pro-cannabis policies, depicting his rival with loose screws and a bong floating out of his head.

The candidate clearly hoped that this attack ad may have helped boost his flagging performance in the polls, but it may well have had the opposite effect. Twitter users mocked the ad, calling it “bizarre,” “creepy,” and “desperate,” and Oz’s ranking in the polls held steady at around 42%, lagging behind Fetterman’s lead of 48%. Clearly, the doctor must have realized that the vast majority of Americans support legal weed, as his opinions about cannabis have suddenly shifted back toward the more progressive end of the spectrum.

Cover image via