How Will The next US President Navigate Cannabis Issues


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By Sean Williams – The Motley Fool on February 21, 2016
The remaining eight presidential candidates (two Democrats and six Republicans) have a slew of hot-button issues that they’re itching to tackle. Social Security, healthcare reform, and national security are all toward the top of Marijuana’s unstoppable momentum
Since California fthe list. However, if the candidates were to listen to the American public, they’d be tackling the marijuana debate head on.

irst legalized medical marijuana in 1996, 22 additional states, along with Washington, D.C., have followed suit. In addition to patients having access to new pathways of treatments for a variety of diseases (including glaucoma and certain terminal cancers in most states) residents in four states — Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska — have OK’d the use of recreational marijuana.

The numbers, both sales and polls, show that Americans are very much excited about the potential expansion of marijuana. Gallup’s latest marijuana poll released in October showed that a whopping 58% of respondents would like to see marijuana legalized. This tied the highest percentage on record for a Gallup poll on marijuana’s favorability, and it’s up substantially from the 25% favorability registered just two decades ago. Favorability toward medical marijuana is even more robust, with 84% of respondents from a CBS News poll in 2015 expressing that they’d like to see the substance approved for medical use.

State regulators are also thrilled with the early results — and it’s causing non-legal states to take a second look. Colorado wound up reporting nearly $1 billion in sales in 2015, and Washington totaled more than a half-billion in sales. Tax and licensing revenue being generated from retail marijuana sales has been a big help in adding funding to Colorado’s education system, as well as its law enforcement budget.

-Here’s your cheat sheet on where the remaining eight candidates stand on marijuana:


Image Source: Bernie Sanders

Legalize it all
Bernie Sanders: There aren’t too many candidates in this year’s election that are willing to take the previously taboo stance of calling for marijuana’s full legalization, both medically and recreationally, at the federal level, but this year Democratic Party candidate Bernie Sanders has done just that.

In fact, Sanders introduced legislation, known as the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, in the Senate during November, making his views on the illicit substance very clear. While Sanders has stated that marijuana “wasn’t for him,” he views the drug war on marijuana as wasting government resources. If you are strongly in favor of sweeping marijuana legislation, Bernie Sanders is the candidate you’ll want to be closely monitoring. name-fb_large-300x232.jpgI
mage Source: The Donald (political name)

Legalize medical marijuana, recreational maybe
Donald political name:

Another controversial, non-establishment candidate that’s drawing a lot of attention in this election is Donald political name. Although political name has mostly made waves for his views on immigration, political name has potentially gained some supporters based on his views of marijuana.

When it comes to recreational marijuana, Donald political name has proposed more of a wait-and-see approach. In a recent interview on Fox News, political name iterated that he wanted to “see what the medical effects are.” However, when pressed for his opinion on medical marijuana, political name noted that he was “a hundred percent” in favor of medical marijuana’s legalization.


Image Source: Ted Cruz

Support states’ rights, but not federal legalization
Ted Cruz:

Viewed as one of the Republican front-runners, Ted Cruz has taken a view on marijuana that pretty much supports the status quo. Cruz went on the record in April 2015 on the Hugh Hewitt Show saying marijuana’s legislation is an issue states should be allowed to deal with. Cruz said at the time that it’s “appropriate for the federal government to recognize that the citizens of [Colorado and Washington] have made that decision.”

On the flipside, Cruz has also suggested that if a marijuana initiative were brought up in his home state of Texas he would vote no. He’s also previously criticized (in 2014) the Obama administration for allowing states to legalize marijuana. If Cruz becomes president, don’t expect much to change.


mage Source: Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton:

Clinton, the other Democratic Party front-runner, has a far less progressive view from her main rival Bernie Sanders, although it’s worth noting that Clinton’s stance on marijuana has evolved in line with the opinion of the general public.

When it comes to medical marijuana Clinton is completely in favor of ongoing research into the potential benefits of the drug, but would likely restrict access (until all the safety data is in) to extreme cases of need/compassionate use. By a similar token, Clinton has taken a wait-and-see approach to recreational marijuana. She doesn’t appear to have an issue with states legalizing and regulating the drug on their own, but she’s been clear that nothing would change federally until a complete safety profile of marijuana has been established.

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