Press Release

MPP Prepares for Presidential Debate in Colorado, Also Upgrades Huckabee, Clinton, and Sanders in Voter Guide

Oct 26, 2015

Monday, October 26, 2015

Contact: Violet Cavendish

More changes could follow Wednesday’s Republican debate in Colorado, where the candidates are likely to discuss the state’s laws that regulate marijuana for adult and medical use

The Marijuana Policy Project’s Mason Tvert, who is based in Denver and co-directed the 2012 Colorado legalization campaign, is available for comment and interviews leading up to and following the debate

DENVER —The nation’s largest marijuana policy organization has upgraded Mike Huckabee, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders in its report card-style voter guide to the 2016 major party presidential candidates. The voter guide can be viewed online at http://

More changes could follow the Republican candidate debate scheduled to take place Wednesday in Boulder, Colorado, where the candidates are likely to discuss the state’s laws that regulate marijuana for adult and medical use.

“Marijuana policy came up during the Democratic debate in Nevada, where a law similar to Colorado’s is set to appear on next year’s ballot,” said Mason Tvert, MPP’s Denver-based director of communications who co-directed the 2012 Colorado marijuana initiative campaign. “It stands to reason that the subject will come up in Boulder, where the victor would be free to celebrate with marijuana instead of champagne.

Polls show that an even stronger majority of Colorado voters support the state’s marijuana laws now than did at the ballot box in 2012. The candidates need to be very clear about where they stand when it comes to the tension between state and federal marijuana laws. Will they protect our state’s decision to establish its own marijuana policy? Or will they use federal resources to interfere with it?”   

MPP boosted Mike Huckabee’s grade from a “D” to a “B-” this month after he said that, as president, he would not attempt to interfere in states such as Colorado that have adopted laws regulating marijuana for adult use.

“[L]et’s let Colorado have at it for a few years and let’s see how that works out for them,” Huckabee said during a televised interview on KCCI in Iowa. “I’m willing to let states operate under the 10th Amendment, and I’m willing for the states, if they think that marijuana and the legalization of it is a great thing, you know, I’m willing for them to experiment and find out. And it if it works and it turns out that the presence of recreational marijuana makes them a more prosperous state…well heck, we may just all want to reach out there and grab that.”

MPP has also upgraded Bernie Sanders from a “B” to an “A” after he became the first-ever major party presidential candidate to express support for legalizing and regulating marijuana for adult use. During the Democratic candidate debate earlier this month, Sanders said he would likely vote in favor of a ballot initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol in Nevada. MPP also upgraded Hillary Clinton from a “B-“ to a “B” after she expressed a heightened level of support for medical marijuana legislation.

“Coloradans rightfully want to know whether the candidates would attempt to roll back the progress that has been made here over the past decade,” Tvert said. “If they intend to shut down hundreds of state-legal businesses, put thousands of people out of work, deprive the state of tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue each year, and force marijuana back into the underground market, they better have a good explanation for it.”


Founded in 1995, the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) is the nation’s leading cannabis policy reform organization. MPP has played a central role in passing dozens of cannabis policy reforms in states across the country, including 10 successful cannabis legalization campaigns, and also works to advance federal reforms.

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