Former FBI national security official Benjamin Thomas Wolf keeps his medals and credentials at his Ukrainian Village campaign office — along with joints of marijuana.
“As a cannabis user, I think it’s important we get out front and talk about it,” Wolf said. “We realize that cannabis can bring billions of dollars to the state, it’s medicine for millions of people around the country, it changes criminal justice reform and personally I think it’s a wonderful recreational substance as well.”
Wolf moved to Chicago five years ago and now owns the Logan Square restaurant Park and Field.
Wolf, Sameena Mustafa and Steven J. Schwartzberg are all primary challengers to incumbent U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., for the 5th Congressional District of Illinois, which includes Chicago’s North and Northwest sides, O’Hare Airport and Oak Brook. It’s a district where the average age is 33 — a young constituency Wolf is targeting with his progressive platform that includes legalizing recreational marijuana.
A photograph Wolf released Monday features him sitting in front of an American flag painting. Above him, smoke rises from the joint he presumably just puffed on.
It’s a striking ad that’s not out of place for him. He took a stance for banning access to assault rifles with a video ad in which he sat in his apartment holding an AR-15. Quigley also supports reinstating the Assault Weapons Ban and expanding background checks.
“You’re not supposed to have those in city limits, it’s a friend of mine’s,” Wolf said of the rifle prop.
But the joint?
“That’s mine, we had a poker night with our campaign staff and I think that was left behind.”
Wolf’s push for legalizing marijuana includes the proposal to spend all the state revenue on public education and drug rehabilitation centers, as well as pardoning all those incarcerated for marijuana-related offenses. In November, Illinoisans could be asked whether they support legalizing recreational marijuana in a referendum.