Although neither candidate has been formally asked about their marijuana stance during the recent debates, both have expressed some viewpoints on the issue, as ambiguous as they might be. With the election being next week (and 9 states actually voting on marijuana legalization) it is important to know how the next President feels about marijuana legalization, as federal legalization will rely heavily on which states vote “yes” this election, and may very well happen during this next presidential term.
Unlike Uncle Bernie, Hillary Clinton has been fairly vague when it comes to legalizing marijuana, which has actually done her a disservice with regards to millennial voters. Studies show that 80% of millennial Democrats and 20% of millennial Republicans support marijuana legalization, but only 31% of voters under the age of 35 support Clinton.
Clinton finally spoke out about medical legalization a few months ago, and Maya Harris, Clinton’s senior policy advisor said “We should make it easier to study marijuana so that we can better understand its potential benefits, as well as its side effects.”
Clinton also supports the rescheduling of marijuana from a Schedule I drug, which puts it in the same class as dangerous narcotics such as heroin, to a Schedule II drug, which would allow the federal government to not only acknowledge cannabis’ medicinal benefits, but also make it easier to conduct research on the plant. Clinton said recently, “I think we need to be very clear about the benefits of marijuana use for medicinal purposes. I don’t think we’ve done enough research yet.”
As far as recreational legalization is concerned, Clinton has been fairly quiet, calling states like Washington and Colorado “ laboratories of democracy” and stating that she wants to see more statistics from recreationally legal states before officially forming an opinion on the matter.
Although Donald Trump has a history of being in favor of the legalization of all narcotics, he has recently come out against the overall federal legalization of marijuana. He does support legal access to medical marijuana, but goes on to say that it is a state’s rights issue.
“There is another problem. In Colorado, the book isn’t written on it yet, but there is a lot of difficulty in terms of illness and what’s going on with the brain and the mind and what it’s doing. So, you know, it’s coming out probably over the next year or so. It’s going to come out,” Trump recently said. Also, in February of this year, he said “I know people that have serious problems and they did that they really — it really does help them.”
Trump has not spoken about the recreational legalization of marijuana, although based on some other comments he made to Bill O’Reilly about the potential of “dealers” and “pushers” creating a black market out of the legal recreational market, it is fairly safe to assume that he does not support recreational legalization at this time.