What the Future Presidency Could Mean for Marijuana Laws
With the United States election coming up this November, a number of policies have been brought to light, including the legalization of marijuana for both medical and recreational use. One thing has been made clear throughout the months of campaigning by all candidates: marijuana is no longer considered the demon drug that it once was.
Hillary Clinton’s Stance
Clinton’s biggest issue with the current laws on marijuana is that it’s still considered a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act. Because of this, it’s illegal to even conduct research on the drug, leaving the government and public unaware of what it actually does and how it can help. Clinton believes that downgrading marijuana to a Schedule II substance would allow for more research to be done on it.
“Because it’s considered what’s called a Schedule I drug, you can’t even do research on it. If we’re going to have states setting up marijuana dispensaries so that people who have some kind of medical need are getting marijuana, we need to know what the quality is, how much you should take, and what you should avoid when taking other medications.”
While Clinton may not be exactly for full legalization, she has changed her stance of being completely against it, to admitting that it definitely needs to be decriminalized; and that marijuana may have some medicinal properties that could greatly help those who need it. Clinton was recently quoted as saying,
“We have got to stop imprisoning people who use marijuana.”
Should Clinton be voted in as the next president of the United States, the only federal law that would most likely change is that marijuana would be downgraded within the Act, so that more research could be performed on it.
Bernie Sanders’ Stance
Bernie Sanders’ stance on marijuana has been made quite clear since the beginning of the election. He wants to see the prohibition of marijuana in the United States come to its end, and believes that the federal government should be taken out of the picture altogether when it comes to the drug. One year before the election even took place, in October 2015, Sanders submitted a bill called “Ending Federal Prohibition Act of 2015”, which calls for the drug to be taken out of the Controlled Substances Act completely.
The bill will also be a great help to distributors in states such as Colorado, who can sell their product but cannot leave their profits in a bank, because that would break federal law. Shortly after submitting the bill, Sanders was quoted as saying,
“Too many Americans have seen their lives destroyed because they have criminal records as a result of marijuana use. That’s wrong. That has got to change. In my view, the time is long overdue for us to remove the federal prohibition on marijuana.”
Should Bernie Sanders become the next President of the United States, both medical and recreational use of marijuana would likely be not only decriminalized, but fully legalized.
Ted Cruz’s Stance
Like his Democratic counterpart Clinton, Ted Cruz was once highly opposed to decriminalizing marijuana, much less legalizing the drug. However over time, Cruz’s view has become a bit more relaxed. While Cruz still does not believe marijuana should be legalized, he does believe it should lie within the jurisdiction of the individual states. Last year Cruz was quoted as saying,
“When it comes to a quesiton of legalizing marijuana, I don’t support it. But I also believe that’s a legitimate question for the states to make a determination. I think it’s appropriate for the federal government to recognize that the citizens of those states have made that decision.”
Should Cruz become the next President of the United States, laws likely would not be changed at all, but would be left up to individual states to determine whether or not to allow the use of medicinal and recreational marijuana.
Donald Trump’s Strance
Republican candidate Donald Trump was also once very against legalizing marijuana, but has now also relaxed his position, saying that the decision should be left up to individual states. The fact that he was highly against Colorado’s legalization of it, and now even believes it might have some benefit is just another sign that marijuana is becoming much more widely accepted. Trump’s official stance is,
“In terms of marijuana and legalization, I think that should be a state issue, state by state. Marijuana is such a big thing. I think medical should happen – right? Don’t we agree? I think so.”
While no one can really predict what’s going to happen with the future laws surrounding marijuana in the United States, one thing is certain. Marijuana is considered a much more accepted substance by the public and politicians alike, and the laws made or changed after the next election on November 8, 2016, are most certainly going to reflect just that.