How Will the Next President Approach the Marijuana Issue?

by Joe Klare

Now that primary season is underway, we are beginning to see who the front-runners are for President of the United States. For cannabis users, the real question is how those candidates feel about the issue of marijuana law reform.

When I say “front-runners,” I mean viable candidates that have a shot at getting their party’s nomination. As much as I would like to rail against New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for his backwards, I’ll-crack-down-on-legal-marijuana-states buffoonery, he has no chance at earning the GOP nomination.

So that leaves us with just a few candidates. On the Democrat side we of course have Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Hillary, being the opportunist that she is, only endorses the least amount of marijuana law reform she can get away with and still keep her “progressive” tag.

Bernie Sanders has gone farther on the road to cannabis law reform than any of the other major party candidates left in the race. He wants to totally de-schedule marijuana and end federal prohibition. This is the source of a lot of his support among the youth of the nation, along with a general lack of economic knowledge among the younger generations.

On the GOP side we are pretty much left with Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Feel free to argue with that assessment if you like, but you’d be hard-pressed to make a case for any other GOP candidate securing the nomination.

While Ted Cruz has taken a “state’s rights” stance on the issue of legalization (letting the states decide on their own), Marco Rubio is more of a hard-liner who thinks federal law should be enforced and that medical marijuana should have to go through the FDA approval process before being considered. Cruz’s position has evolved from the more hard-line stance he took as recently as 2014 when he was hammering the Obama Administration for giving states that have legalized a pass. In either the case of Cruz or Rubio, I find it hard to believe that they would expend much political capital in fighting for or against cannabis law reform.

What about Donald Trump? Well, if you go back far enough you can find that The Donald has taken just about every conceivable position when it comes to marijuana. As far as how he would handle the issue as president, can anyone really say they know for sure what a President Trump would do? I think the range of possibilities goes from him selling Trump brand weed out of the Oval Office to him using the bones of cannabis users to build his precious wall to separate us from Mexico. That may be a bit of a stretch, but not much of one.

As a general rule, candidates from the Libertarian Party favor legalization. After all, marijuana users are not infringing on the rights of anyone else, so they can’t be said to be committing a crime. Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson has called for an end to federal marijuana prohibition and was most recently the CEO of a cannabis company. Esteemed TLR founder Austin Petersen has also said he favors an end to federal prohibition and de-scheduling of marijuana, leaving the issue to states to decide on their own.

While cannabis is not a top tier issue with most Presidential candidates, it is good to see that it is an issue that is making an impact where it made no impact before. Of course, former GOP candidate Rand Paul had a lot to do with bringing the issue to the forefront and in front of millions of Americans. It’s also good to see GOP candidates in particular leaving their old prejudices behind and beginning to move with the majority of the country in the direction of eventual legalization.

And if Chris Christie is elected the next President of the United States, you can print out this article and burn it while you wait for the feds to kick down your door, you dirty hippies!

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