2016 Presidential Candidates’ Stance On Marijuana
Here’s a quick rundown of the 2016 Presidential candidates featured in major polls, and their views on legalizing marijuana.
Jeb Bush is a Republican and Florida’s Governor. In the past, he has seemed conflicted about the issue of marijuana. Expressing concern about interstate commerce, he states he is unsure about federal interference with medical marijuana states, and state’s rights to pass their own laws. Bush issued a written statement urging Floridians to vote against the proposed constitutional amendment for medical marijuana in that state. Although Bush’s marijuana use has been well-known he has called it “stupid” and “wrong.”
Ben Carson is a Republican, a retired neurosurgeon who has has never held public office before. He has stated that he takes no issues with medical use of marijuana but does not support that legalization. In a book, Carson wrote, “Because of my love of God and my religious upbringing, I didn’t become involved in sex or drugs.”
Lincoln Chafee is a former Republican senator who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination. He also served as the Governor of Rhode Island. He has signed laws decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana and also petitioned the Federal government to remove marijuana from Schedule I and reassign it to Schedule II. In the past, Chafee admitted to using marijuana and cocaine during the 1970s.
Ted Cruz is a Republican U.S. senator who supports the states’ rights to legalize marijuana. But he is critical of current policy saying, “The Obama administration’s approach to drug policy is to simply announce that across the country, it is gonna stop enforcing certain drug laws.” Regarding Cruz’s past marijuana use, his campaign has stated, “When he was a teenager, he foolishly experimented with marijuana. It was a mistake, and he’s never tried it since.”
Carly Fiorina is a Republican and former CEO of Hewlett-Packard. Like Carson, she has never been elected to public office. She says that she believe in states’ rights to pass laws of their own, “I would not, as president of the United States, enforce federal law in Colorado where Colorado voters have said they want to legalize marijuana.” She personally does not support the use of cannabis, though. saying she would not even consider using medical cannabis when diagnosed with cancer. “I remember when I had cancer and my doctor said, ‘Do you have any interest in medicinal marijuana?” she said. ” I did not.”
Lindsey Graham is a Republican U.S. senator from South Carolina who formerly served in the U.S. House. He opposes legalization of marijuana. He has shown support for CBD-only bills that might help those who suffer from seizure disorders, but Graham voted against allowing the V.A. to recommend medical marijuana to veterans. There is no record of him admitting or denying use of marijuana.
Mike Huckabee is a Republican and a former Arkansas governor. He is also a Baptist pastor who opposes legalization. He believes the federal government should continue targeting patients or providers in medical marijuana states and said so during his presidential campaign in 2008. Huckabee proudly stated that he has never smoked marijuana.
Rand Paul is a Republican and U.S. senator from Kentucky is one of the original sponsors of a The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act of 2015. Among other things, the bill would reschedule marijuana, allow banks to do business with the legal cannabis industry, stop restricting marijuana research, allow high-CBD strains to be sent across state lines and allow military veterans access to medical marijuana through the V.A. He will not directly confirm that he has used marijuana but will not deny it either.
George Pataki is a Republican and former New York governor. He opposes legalization, but supports the rights of states to pass their own laws although he believes that federal law needs to be changed first. Pataki wrote in his 1988 biography of failed attempts at edibles and of smoking marijuana, which he claims had “no real appeal.” [note: George Pataki has since
Rick Perry is a Republican and former Texas governor and lieutenant governor. He supports a states’ rights to implement their own marijuana law without federal interference, but says he opposes legalization. Perry says he has never used marijuana.
Marco Rubio is a Republican U.S. senator and former speaker of the Florida House of Representatives. Rubio believes that since marijuana is illegal under federal law it should be enforced in all states. Although he does not support legalization and decriminalization, he has not opposed the medical use of marijuana. Rubio refuses to answer questions about whether he has ever tried marijuana because he doesn’t want to be a bad influence on young people.
Rick Santorum is a Republican and former U.S. senator and congressman from Pennsylvania. He opposes legalization and seems conflicted on the issue of states’ rights passing their own marijuana laws. He argues that “states under the Constitution probably have the right to do it, just like they have the right to do medical marijuana laws, but legally.” He goes on to say that he doesn’t believe states “morally” have the right to pass laws that are, in his opinion “harmful to the people in their community.” Therefore he believes the federal government should step in. As far as personal marijuana use, he said, “I smoked pot when I was in college. Even during that time, I knew that what I was doing was wrong.”
Hillary Clinton is a Democrat and former secretary of state, U.S. senator and first lady. She has publicly stated that while she supports medical use and believes it has medical value, she believes there should be more research. She also said she is against decriminalization in the past, however she supports states moving forward with their laws. Clinton has stated that she has “absolutely not” tried marijuana.
Martin O’Malley is a Democrat and former Maryland governor. He signed laws decriminalizing marijuana possession and finally backed a medical marijuana program after years of opposing reforms. According to the Baltimore Chronicle, O’Malley said he has never used marijuana.
Bernie Sanders, is a Democrat/Independent U.S. senator and former House member from Vermont. Sanders has co-sponsored pro-marijuana legislation many times. He also co-sponsored the States’ Rights to Medical Marijuana Act, a bill to reschedule cannabis and restrict the Controlled Substances Act from infringing any state’s medical marijuana laws. During the last Congressional session, Sanders co-sponsored a Senate bill to legalize industrial hemp. Sanders said he has tried marijuana 30 or 40 years ago, but stated “it’s not my thing.”
To read The CARERS Act of 2015: https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/683
To read The States’ Rights To Medical Marijuana Act: https://www.congress.gov/bill/109th-congress/house-bill/2087/