Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton received the Democratic Party’s nomination for president on July 26, 2016.
Where does she stand?
Clinton has expressed support for legal access to medical marijuana and more research into the medical benefits of marijuana.
In 2014, when asked about the legalization laws approved in Colorado and Washington, she said “states are the laboratories of democracy” and that she wants to see what happens in those states prior to taking a position in support or opposition to such laws.
During the October 13 Democratic presidential debate she was asked whether she has taken a position on state legalization laws now that a year has gone by, to which she replied, “No.” Instead, she expressed support for laws that allow legal access to medical marijuana, as well as concern about U.S. incarceration rates, noting that she does not believe people should be imprisoned for marijuana use. In an interview the following day, she expressed support for allowing states to adopt their own marijuana policies and said she would not want the federal government to interfere in them.
On November 7, 2015, Clinton said she supports reclassifying marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II to remove barriers to researching its medical benefits.
What has she said?
“I think what the states are doing right now needs to be supported, and I absolutely support all the states that are moving toward medical marijuana, moving toward — absolutely — legalizing it for recreational use.
“What I’ve said is let’s take it off the what’s called Schedule I and put it on a lower schedule so that we can actually do research about it. There’s some great evidence about what marijuana can do for people who are in cancer treatment, who have other kind of chronic diseases, who are suffering from intense pain. There’s great, great anecdotal evidence but I want us to start doing the research.” Jimmy Kimmel Live, March 24, 2016
“I think that states are the laboratories of democracy, and four states have already taken action to legalize, and it will be important that other states and the federal government take account of how that’s being done, what we learn from what they’re doing. I think that the states moving forward is appropriate and I think the federal government has to move to make this more available for research that they can then distribute to interested people across our country. I do think on the federal level we need to remove marijuana from the Schedule I of drugs, move it to Schedule II, which will permit it to be the basis for medical research because it’s important that we learn as much as possible. And since it was a Schedule I drug we haven’t done that research. A lot of experts in the field are telling me we’ve got to learn a lot more.” WBZ NewsRadio, January 25, 2016
“What I do want is for us to support research into medical marijuana because a lot more states have passed medical marijuana than have legalized marijuana, so we’ve got two different experiences or even experiments going on right now.
“If we’re going to have a lot of states setting up marijuana dispensaries so that people who have some kind of medical need are getting marijuana, we need know what’s the quality of it, how much should you take, what should you avoid if you’re taking other medications.” The Huffington Post, November 7, 2015
“I really believe it’s important that states like Colorado lead the way, so that we can learn what works and what doesn’t work. And I would certainly not want the federal government to interfere with the legal decision made by the people of Colorado, and enforced by your elected officials, as to how you should be conducting this business that you have approved. So, no, I want to give you the space and I want other states to learn from you, what works and what doesn’t work.” MSNBC, October 14, 2015
When asked if she has taken a position on state marijuana legalization laws now that it has been a year since she said she wants to wait and see what happens in Colorado and Washington: “No. I think that we have the opportunity through the states that are pursuing recreational marijuana to find out a lot more than we know today. I do support the use of medical marijuana, and I think even there we need to do a lot more research so that we know exactly how we’re going to help people for whom medical marijuana provides relief.” 2016 Democratic Presidential Debate, October 13, 2015
“Honestly, I don’t think we’ve done enough research yet to say what the effects are and what they could be on different people with different physical or psychological issues, different ages — yes, medical first and foremost, we ought to be doing more to make sure that we know how marijuana would interact with other prescription drugs and the like. But we also have to know how even medical marijuana impacts our kids and our communities.
“But the states are the laboratories of democracy, and we’re seeing states pass laws that enable their citizens to have access to medical marijuana under certain conditions, so we have the opportunity to try to study those. And then Colorado and Washington have proceeded to permit recreational use. And at the same time, we’re seeing the beginnings of important criminal justice reforms.
“So I’m a big believer in acquiring evidence, and I think we should see what kind of results we get, both from medical marijuana and from recreational marijuana before we make any far-reaching conclusions.
“I think the feds should be attuned to the way marijuana is still used as a gateway drug and how the drug cartels from Latin America use marijuana to get footholds in states, so there can’t be a total absence of law enforcement, but what I want to see, and I think we should be much more focused on this, is really doing good research so we know what it is we’re approving.” KPCC, July 22, 2014
“I don’t think we’ve done enough research yet although I think for people who are in extreme medical conditions and have anecdotal evidence that it works, there should be availability under appropriate circumstances.
“On [laws allowing adult marijuana use], you know, states are the laboratories of democracy. We have at least two states that are experimenting with that right now. I want to wait and see what the evidence is.” CNN, June 2014
Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson received the Libertarian Party’s nomination for president on May 29, 2016.
Where does he stand?
Former Gov. Gary Johnson supports legalizing and regulating marijuana for medical and adult use. He has expressed support for legalizing marijuana at the federal level, removing it from the federal drug schedules, and allowing states to legalize and regulate marijuana for medical and adult use. He endorsed state ballot initiatives to legalize and regulate marijuana for adult use in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington.
The Marijuana Policy Project has endorsed Gary Johnson for president. In a statement to supporters, MPP Executive Director Rob Kampia noted that “legalization has been Johnson’s number-one issue for 17 years.” Kampia also explained: “Of the three presidential candidates who will appear on the ballot in all 50 states and D.C., Gary Johnson clearly has the best position on marijuana policy. When he first advocated for legalization in 1999, he was the highest-ranking public official in the U.S. to do so — as the sitting Republican governor of New Mexico, no less.”
What has he said?
“Over time, the politicians have ‘criminalized’ far too many aspects of people’s personal lives. The failed War on Drugs is, of course, the greatest example. Well over 100 million Americans have, at one time or another, used marijuana. Yet, today, simple possession and use of marijuana remains a crime — despite the fact that a majority of Americans now favor its legalization…
“Imagine [the Founding Fathers’] shock to learn that the government has decided it is appropriate to tell adults what they can put in their bodies — and even put them in jail for using marijuana, while allowing those same adults to consume alcohol and encouraging the medical profession to pump out addictive, deadly painkillers at will.” Gary Johnson 2016 Presidential Campaign Website, accessed May 25, 2016
“The truth is that most marijuana smokers are people we associate with every day–law abiding, tax-paying, productive citizens. Bad personal decisions should not be criminal if they don’t harm anyone else. It is and should always be illegal to drive while you’re impaired or to commit crimes. But people will always use drugs. We can’t change that. Our real focus should be on reducing death, disease, crime and corruption. These problems are all related to drug prohibition, not drug use. But what I’ve found is that most people base their position on this issue on emotion instead of facts. The truth is that marijuana is safer than alcohol.” Seven Principles, p. 73-74, August 1, 2012, via OnTheIssues.org
“The parallels between drug policy today and Prohibition in the 1920’s are obvious, as are the lessons our nation learned. Prohibition was repealed because it made matters worse. Today, no one is trying to sell our kids bathtub gin in the schoolyard and micro-breweries aren’t protecting their turf with machine guns. It’s time to apply that thinking to marijuana. By making it a legal, regulated product, availability can be restricted, under-age use curtailed, enforcement/court/incarceration costs reduced and the profit removed from a massive underground and criminal economy.
“By managing marijuana like alcohol and tobacco—regulating, taxing and enforcing its lawful use—America will be better off. Alcohol Prohibition (1920-1933) had only a minimal effect on the desire of Americans to drink but pushing alcohol underground had other effects: overdose deaths, gang violence, and other prohibition-related harms increased dramatically during the Prohibition years.” Gary Johnson 2012 Presidential Campaign Website, via OnTheIssues.org
Physician and 2012 Green Party Presidential Nominee Jill Stein is widely reported to be the presumptive nominee for the Green Party, which will officially nominate a candidate at its national convention scheduled for August 4-7, 2016.
Where does she stand?
Dr. Stein supports legalizing and regulating marijuana for medical and adult use nationwide.
What has she said?
“As a medical doctor and public health advocate, people ask me all the time if marijuana is dangerous.
“Yes, marijuana is dangerous – because it’s illegal. It’s not inherently dangerous. It’s certainly less harmful than alcohol and tobacco, which are perfectly legal.
“The real danger of marijuana is the violence of the underground drug economy created by prohibition.
“Legalizing marijuana will end that violence, much like ending alcohol prohibition ended the violence of the illegal alcohol economy.
“It’s time to take marijuana off the black market, end crime and violence related to marijuana trafficking, stop wasting money and ruining lives by prosecuting victimless crimes, reduce prison populations, increase tax revenue, allow sick people their medicine, let farmers grow marijuana and hemp, and give responsible adults their freedom by legalizing it!
“As President, one of my first actions would be to order the DEA and the Justice Department to cease and desist all attempts to harass or prosecute medical marijuana clinics or other legitimate marijuana-related businesses that are operating under state laws.
“I would also direct DEA to remove marijuana from Schedule 1, the most dangerous category of drugs, and place it in a more appropriate category as determined by medical science. …
“Like Colorado, we can regulate marijuana in a similar way to alcohol once it’s legal.
“This would prevent billions of dollars in profits from pouring into the black market, and would greatly reduce the violence associated with illegal marijuana sales, including the drug wars ravaging Mexico and Central America. …
“Make no mistake, ending marijuana prohibition would be a huge win for freedom and social justice, and a major step towards the just, Green future we deserve.”
“It’s time to bring marijuana under a legal regulatory framework. Our current approach to the regulation of marijuana is a failure. It has resulted in a massive black market that is creating violence in our communities and pouring millions of dollars each year into the pockets of criminal supply networks. Taxpayers are footing the bill for ineffective law enforcement efforts and unnecessary judicial expenses. And the most that can be achieved is to keep a few people from purchasing an herb that appears to be much less harmful than alcohol or tobacco.
“It’s time to get rid of the black market and bring marijuana sales under a legal regulatory framework. In this way, we can staunch the flow of money to illegal drug networks, generate new funds for our communities, improve public safety, and create new jobs in growing hemp for food and fiber.
“As Governor I will appoint a Cannabis Reform Commission to investigate the best way to bring marijuana sales under the new regulatory framework.” Jill Stein 2010 Gubernatorial Campaign Website, via OnTheIssues.org
Businessman and television personality Donald Trump received the Republican Party’s nomination for president on July 19, 2016.
Where does he stand?
In 1990, Trump said he favored legalizing all drugs, but more recently he has said he opposes legalizing and regulating marijuana for adult use.
He supports legal access to medical marijuana, and he believes states should be able to set their own marijuana policies with regard to adult use.
What has he said?
Bill O’Reilly said legalized marijuana is a $1 billion industry in Colorado and claimed all the “dealers” and “pushers” are going there to “load up on it” and then “zoom around the country selling it.” He then asked Trump if it concerns him, to which Trump responded: “That’s a real problem.”
O’Reilly asked Trump what he would do about it, and Trump responded: “There is another problem. In Colorado, the book isn’t written on it yet, but there is a lot of difficulty in terms of illness and what’s going on with the brain and the mind and what it’s doing. So, you know, it’s coming out probably over the next year or so. It’s going to come out.”
O’Reilly continued to ask what Trump would do about it, and Trump responded: “I would really want to think about that one, Bill. Because in some ways I think it’s good and in other ways it’s bad. I do want to see what the medical effects are. I have to see what the medical effects are and, by the way — medical marijuana, medical? I’m in favor of it a hundred percent. But what you are talking about, perhaps not. It’s causing a lot of problems out there.
O’Reilly then called medical marijuana a “ruse,” to which Trump responded: “But I know people that have serious problems and they did that they really — it really does help them.” The O’Reilly Factor, February 12, 2016
“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. And then I really believe we should leave it up to the states.” Washington Post, October 29, 2015
“I’d say [regulating marijuana] is bad. Medical marijuana is another thing, but I think it’s bad and I feel strongly about that. [Moderator: “What about the states’ right aspect of it?”] If they vote for it, they vote for it… But I think, medical marijuana, 100%.” C-SPAN, June 23, 2015
“We’re losing badly the War on Drugs. You have to legalize drugs to win that war. You have to take the profit away from these drug czars.” Miami Herald, April 14, 1990