The 2016 presidential field is beginning to take shape, and some of the candidates have revealed their stance on marijuana legalization.
Below is a roundup of what some of the declared presidential candidates have said about marijuana. Candidates are listed in alphabetical order.
Hillary Clinton (Democrat) – The former first lady, secretary of state, and U.S. senator has openly stated that marijuana has medical value and that she wants to see states move forward with their own laws. Her comments on marijuana include:
– “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, although I think for people who are in extreme medical conditions and who have anecdotal evidence that it works, there should be availability under appropriate circumstances.”
– “On recreational, you know, states are the laboratories of democracy. We have at least two states that are experimenting with that right now. I want to wait and see what the evidence is.”
Ted Cruz (Republican) – The U.S. senator from Texas opposes any marijuana legalization because the substance is federally illegal. His comments on marijuana include:
– “The Obama administration’s approach to drug policy is to simply announce that across the country, it is gonna stop enforcing certain drug laws. I think most disturbingly, watching President Obama’s approach to drug laws is that he hasn’t tried to start a discussion, a dialogue about changing the laws. He simply decreed he’s not gonna enforce laws he doesn’t agree with.”
Rand Paul (Republican) – The U.S. senator from Kentucky is one of the only current candidate who has actually worked to reform marijuana laws. For instance, he is an original sponsor of a bill that would effectively end the federal war on medical marijuana, but opposes marijuana legalization.
– “I’m not really promoting legalization, but I am promoting making the penalties much less severe and not putting people in jail for 10, 20, 30 years.”
– On marijuana legalization: “I would let states choose. And I don’t know what’ll happen, whether it’s going to end up being good or bad. But I would let the states choose because I believe in federalism and states’ rights.”
– On marijuana in general: “Even though it may not kill you I don’t think it’s good for you. It’s not good for studies, it’s not good for showing up for work” and “people who use marijuana all the time lose IQ points.”
Marco Rubio (Republican)– The U.S. senator and former speaker of the Florida House of Representatives opposes legalization and decriminalization. His comments on marijuana include:
– “We live in a country that already has problems with substance abuse. We already see the impact that alcoholism is having on families, on drunk driving, on all sorts of things. And now we’re gonna add one more substance that people can use?”
– “When something is legal, implicitly what you’re saying, ‘it can’t be all that bad. Cuz if it’s legal it can’t be bad for you.’ The bottom line is I believe that adding yet another mind-altering substance to something that’s legal is not good for the country.”
– “Marijuana is illegal under federal law. That should be enforced. I understand that states have decided to legalize possession under state law, and the trafficking, the sale of these products. I mean, that’s a federal crime.”