Published: February 4th, 2016
The US presidency of Barack Obama will come to an end on November 8, 2016. Americans will elect the 45th President of the United States due to President Obama’s ineligibility for re-election, established in the constitution. Presidential candidates of both major political parties, democrats and republicans, are positioning themselves on various political topics, including cannabis legalization. It’s still open which candidate will be nominated for the job in the White House, even though Hillary Clinton seems to have good chances for the Democrats, and there speaks a lot for Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, being the next republican presidential candidate. This year, we can observe that legalization of cannabis has become a mainstream political issue for all politicians.
Here below are 4 republicans and 3 democrats who have the best chances to become the next POTUS and their view on cannabis (legalization):
The businessman Donald Trump is the first one to show contradictions in his statements on drugs and cannabis. In 1990, he said: “We’re losing badly the war on drugs. You have to legalize drugs to win that war,” and “You have to take the profit away from these drug czars…” This was 25 years ago, a time where Forbes Magazine listed Pablo Escobar the sevenths richest man on earth, with estimated private assets of $2.7 billion. Now, Donald Trump changed his views on legalizing drugs completely. At the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference, when asked about cannabis legalization, he said: “I think it’s bad, and I feel strongly about that,” but “Medical marijuana is another thing,” he added. “I think medical marijuana, 100 percent.”
The U.S. senator and former speaker of the Florida House of Representatives can be considered a hardliner among Republicans, and is against any form of legalization or decriminalization of cannabis. According to Rubio, the U.S. government should enforce the existing federal laws, even in states where the democratic process led to the end of cannabis prohibition. Rubio compares weed with alcohol in his train of thoughts: “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?” Luckily, he seems to be open-minded about medical cannabis: “You hear compelling stories of people who say the use of medicinal marijuana provides relief for the thing they are suffering,” he told the press. “So I’d like to learn more about that aspect of it, the science of it.”
Ted Cruz is a senator from Texas and not a big fan of cannabis but he respects the states decisions to end cannabis prohibition, “that’s their right.” He is not very pleased about the Obama administration, and their drug policies. ”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.” Like most presidential candidates, Senator Cruz admitted to smoke cannabis in his past. A spokesman of Cruz said: “When he was a teenager, he foolishly experimented with marijuana. It was a mistake, and he’s never tried it since.”
Jeb Bush doesn’t support legalization, not even medical cannabis. Bush said that legalizing weed is “a bad idea but states ought to have that right to do it.” He said following at a campaign stop in Iowa: “The neurological damage done by this high potent marijuana today is at best untested. At worst, will create huge disruptions in communities,” He also thinks that cannabis legalization in Colorado has led to “increases in crime and lower productivity.” It’s not quite clear how much he actually knows about the scientific facts: “The new heroin and the new marijuana are highly, highly toxic.” Not all is lost though. Jeb Bush likes to see a decriminalization of cannabis users. “It’s one thing to say we should have decriminalization of marijuana. I support that.”
The former first-lady, U.S. senator, and secretary of state, is of the opinion that cannabis has medical values and that she would “support states and localities that are experimenting with this.” Clinton also thinks that it should be up to the democratic process on state level, to evaluate if people want cannabis to be legalized or not. She told CNN: “I think we need to be very clear about the benefits of marijuana use for medicinal purposes,” The problem is that most of her statements about cannabis are exactly what you would expect a politician to say. Here are some examples: “On recreational, you know, states are the laboratories of democracy”, “I want to wait and see what the evidence is.” And, “I don’t think we’ve done enough research yet,” All these phrases make sense on their own but she seems to be very careful to not get hit by the crossfire between prohibitionists and the people supporting cannabis legalisation.
Former governor of Maryland, Martin O’Malley, signed multiple laws to decriminalize marijuana possession and medical cannabis but not after spending a good amount of his lifetime, verbally opposing these laws. He says he never smoked weed, and told CNN: “When I was in high school, it was considered very uncool,” O’Malley has some rational arguments for his radical change of mind concerning cannabis. Being a former prosecuter, he thought that decriminalizing the possession of marijuana might undermine the idea of reducing drug violence and to improve public safety. O’Malley now thinks that decriminalisation of marijuana possession is “an acknowledgment in law that might even lead to a greater focus on far more serious threats to public safety and the lives of our citizens.” This candidate always seems to give hints that he is might willing to go a few steps further, than only supporting decriminalization. “There’s definitely a difference between marijuana and many other controlled substances.”
[Update: Martin O'Malley just stepped out of the race!]
If you haven’t heard of Bernie Sanders, U.S. senator and former House member from Vermont, you missed out on a few things. This candidate is independent but runs for the Democrats. He is actually the first major presidential candidate that personally works hard to support legal cannabis, and has voted for reforms in drug laws on numerous occasions. If US citizens are getting very impatient to finally smoke their legal weed anywhere in the country, they should think about voting for Bernie Sanders, this guy can make it happen. Sanders has the guts it takes to speak out the truth. Here is quick example: “I am seeing in this country too many lives being destroyed for nonviolent offenses. We have a criminal justice system that lets CEOs on Wall Street walk away and yet we are imprisoning or giving jail sentences to young people who are smoking marijuana” Statements like this are getting more powerful when considering the fact that Hillary Clintons campaign is partly sponsored by two of the biggest prison companies in the US.
From a cannabis legalization point of view... Does it actually really matter who's going to be the next US president? In our humble opinion, uhm, no, that does not matter much. Cannabis is on a worldwide legalization tour. The genie is out of the bottle and no democrat or republican is going to put it back. The only difference it will make is time. With a republican behind the wheel it might all take a bit longer, but in the end there will be only one final stop: Legalization.
In any case: Hillary, Bernie, Donald, Ted, whoever it's gonna be... if they need some cannabis seeds of presidential quality, they can always call us. We will even put in some extra freebies!