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The upcoming 2016 Presidential Election right around the corner and getting closer and closer. One of the most significant issues to hit the ballot is the legalization of cannabis. In this article we will take a look at some of the prominent presidential candidates and explore each respective party. Who knows, you might be surprised what some of these candidates have to say and what their stances really are.

 

Republicans

 

Donald Trump

 

In previous years, Trump gave the thumbs up on legalizing drugs and applying the tax revenue to help fund drug related education programs. He believes that it would take away the profits from the drug lords involved in the black market, and help end the War on Drugs that began in the 1990s. Now, more recently at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Trump stated that he feels slightly different about marijuana legalization than before.

“I think regulating marijuana is bad and I feel strongly about that,” he said. “They’ve got a lot of problems going on right now in Colorado, some big problems.” However, Trump does support the legalization of medical marijuana suggesting that it is a “different thing” than recreational legalization.

Not only did Trump completely change his role in a span of 20 years, but he continues to be somewhat confused as to what his actual stance is. When asked about states’ rights and marijuana law, Trump said, “If they vote for it, they vote for it.”

Position – Pro-Medical, Anti-Recreational

 

Ben Carson

 

Being a neurosurgeon has its perks, this is why Carson understands the many benefits that comes with medical marijuana use. But, he still believes marijuana is a gateway drug and is strongly against recreational use. He asserts that “a starter for people who move on to heavier duty drugs” and says, “I don’t think this is something we really want for our society.”

Position – Pro-Medical, Anti-Recreational

Carly Fiorina

 

Carly Fiorina has a different outlook on medical and recreational marijuana use, considering she lost her stepdaughter to drug addiction. You might think she would be against it as much as Jeb Bush is. Fiorina has an opposing view on the legalization of marijuana stating that, “I think it’s misleading to young people in particular when we tell them smoking pot is like drinking beer. It is not.” Nonetheless, she does support each state’s decision to choose on its own. Fiorina has not specifically expressed that she has views against medical marijuana but she has conveyed a strong doubt in the medicinal value that cannabis supplies.

Position – Anti-Medical, Anti-Recreational

Marco Rubio

 

Some of you may be aware that in 1987 Marco Rubio’s brother-in-law was convicted and sent to prison for drug conviction. This fact greatly implies his present stance against marijuana legalization. For Rubio, drugs hit close to home, yet he is in favor of implement stronger laws even in the states where marijuana is already legal saying, “there’s no responsible way to recreationally use marijuana.”

However, it may still be up in the air concerning Rubio’s attitude towards medical marijuana. He hasn’t spoken out saying he is for or against it, most likely because there’s a vote on it in his home state of Florida soon. “You hear compelling stories of people who say the use of medical marijuana provides relief for the thing they are suffering,” Rubio said in an interview with the Huffington Post. “I’d like to learn more about that aspect of it, the science of it.”

Position – Undecided Medical, Anti-Recreational

Jeb Bush

 

Bush is very much against the legalization of marijuana in any form, which is somewhat bizarre for someone who smoked marijuana in high school. He even sided with opponents of medical marijuana legalization in Florida declaring that it would hurt the state’s ‘gleaming’ reputation. Confused much? “Florida leaders and citizens have worked for years to make the Sunshine State a world-class location to start or run a business, a family-friendly destination for tourism and a desirable place to raise a family or retire,” he said. “Allowing large-scale marijuana operations to take root across Florida, under the guise of using it for medicinal purposes runs counter to all of these efforts.”

 

Bush does back states’ rights to create their own policies concerning cannabis but doesn’t agree with Colorado voters by announcing on C-SPAN, “I would have voted ‘no’ if I was in Colorado.”

Position – Anti-Medical, Anti-Redreational

Ted Cruz

 

In times past, Ted Cruz has been fairly critical of the Obama administration for the big decision to not reinforce Federal law in states that voted to monitor and tax cannabis recreationally. At the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference, however, Cruz swapped his opinion to support states’ rights. He is still against legalizing cannabis for adult recreational use but he does respect and recognize the right of each individual state choosing for itself and believes the federal government should not get heavily involved.

Position – Anti-Medical, Anti-Recreational

Rand Paul

 

Libertarian Rand Paul is a huge supporter of states rights. He also believes that the War on Drugs was a war merely devised to put minorities in prison. “I think to put somebody in jail for 10 years for possession of marijuana or sale of marijuana is ridiculous,” Paul said. Although Paul has not taken a prominent stance on recreational legalization, he has co-sponsored a bill that would grant cannabis-related businesses access to the banks.

Position – Pro-Medical, Undecided Recreational

 

Democrats

Hilary Clinton

Wife of former President Bill Clinton, Hilary Clinton has notably claimed he smoked marijuana, but didn’t actually inhale. Hillary’s viewpoint is a little more strict than some of the other Democrats. She approves medical marijuana use, but only in specifically extreme cases. As far as recreational use, Hillary thinks that the best route is to to sit back and wait to see how legalization goes in states like Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Alaska before taking an having a solid opinion on it. “States are the laboratories of the democracy,” Hillary states. “We have at (four states) that are experimenting with that right now. I want to wait and see what the evidence is.”

Position – Pro-Medical, Undecided Recreational

Bernie Sanders

Likely the strongest legalization advocate among the presidential candidates, Sanders co-sponsored the States’ Rights to Medical Marijuana Act, which reclassifies and changes marijuana as a schedule 2 from a schedule 1 drug. Sanders also thinks industrial hemp shouldn’t be treated the same as marijuana, co-sponsoring the Industrial Hemp Act too. When asked about marijuana and recreational use, Sanders mentioned some concerns but still believes that legalizing and the regulation of cannabis would have an long-term positive impact. At the Democratic Presidential Debate Sanders was asked how he would vote on legalization he said, “I suspect I would vote yes.”

Position – Pro-Medical, Pro-Recreational

Joe Biden

The current Vice President has a surprising standpoint on cannabis legalization and is much different than most Democrats. Biden is standing firm in his beliefs against its legalization and still considers it a gateway drug. However, he does believe the criminalization of it is a bit exaggerated. “There’s a difference between sending someone to jail for a few ounces and legalizing it,” Biden told ABC News. “The punishment should fit the crime, but I think legalization would be a mistake.”

Position – Anti-Medical, Anti-Recreational

 

For now as it currently stands, Bernie Sanders and Rand Paul are the by far the strongest candidates for cannabis. Stay tuned for updates and new information as we get closer and closer the 2016 election. Which candidate(s) do you relate to or agree with most? What about the viewpoints you don’t support? These are definitely major things to think about as we all get ready to register and vote.

 

 

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