Clinton, Sanders and Trump on Pot-- Guest Post By Med-X President Matthew Mills
With the Democratic primaries winding down and the Republican primaries over, many participants and enthusiasts in the cannabis space are looking to the three remaining presidential candidates to see who would be their greatest ally. It’s a difficult question to answer, given the candidates’ shifting views over time and lack of ability to fully predict how their agenda for the presidency would be altered by events between now and their swearing-in.
Going into the polls, it’s important that voters understand how their options for President feel about cannabis as a recreational substance, medical treatment, and source of tax revenue for the state.
Hillary Clinton’s stance on marijuana legalization is fairly moderate for a Democrat-- while she’s expressed support for medical marijuana and moving cannabis to Schedule II on the federal drug schedule (so as to break down barriers preventing researchers from studying its medical benefits), she’s yet to take a firm stance on outright recreational legalization. Clinton’s view of cannabis isn’t all that surprising, given her moderate stances on a number of other issues, but it’s unlikely that a presidency under Hillary would be any more likely to be pro-legalization or patients’ rights than her husband’s.
Senator Bernie Sanders has expressed his support for the cannabis industry on a major level, specifically endorsing the legalization and regulation of the substance for adult and medical use. In addition to his stance on legalization, Sanders has noted that he would remove marijuana from the federal drug schedule altogether if given the opportunity, and that the war on drugs has been enforced in a draconian and ineffective manner.
Much like with other issues, it doesn’t seem that Donald Trump has a firm stance on drug policy, specifically marijuana. In 1990, Trump stated his support for the legalization of all drugs, but he’s more recently opposed the legalization and regulation of recreational marijuana use. While he supports medical marijuana, it’s difficult to say whether the Republican Party’s presumptive candidate for President would stick to his current stance for the duration of his presidency if elected.
While Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton would likely be better presidents on marijuana policy than Donald Trump, Senator Sanders is definitively more supportive of the cannabis industry and space as a whole. This isn’t to say that voters should only consider a single issue in determining their choice for president, but there’s a clear winner in this election when it comes to drug policy, and those that value cannabis policy reform as a major issue should consider Sen. Sanders’ stance.