Ranking Presidential Candidates on Cannabis: Democrats

 What Do The Top Presidential Candidates Think About Cannabis?

Who are you voting for in the upcoming 2016 election? Well, if you are reading this article, chances are each candidate’s stance on cannabis legislation is important to you. That being said, this list has been compiled in order to inform you as to what exactly each potential nominee thinks and has said about cannabis. The following names represent, in our eyes, the top potential nominees on the Democrat ticket.  Did you miss the Republicans? Click Here.

Hillary Clinton

Who is she?

Former Secretary of State for the Obama Administration – Former Senator (NY) – Former First Lady

Her stance on cannabis:

The former First Lady is taking a ‘wait and see’ approach before making her official stance on cannabis. She plans to use models like Colorado and Washington to gauge the pros and cons, and will then decide on her position. Additionally, she has expressed interest in learning more about the medical applications for cannabis.

“States are laboratories of democracy. I want to wait and see what the evidence is.” CNN, June 2014

Can she win in 2016?

Hillary Clinton is the obvious frontrunner for the Democrat party. She has the name, the experience, the connections and the political savvy needed to successfully navigate the election process and she has been part of multiple winning campaigns in her career. For activists, her undecided stance on cannabis can either be calming (because she isn’t against it) or concerning (because she isn’t for it).

Joe Biden

Who is he?

Vice President of the United States

His stance on cannabis:

Joe Biden’s stance on cannabis has evolved over time. While in the senate, Biden was extremely anti-legalization. In fact he was an outspoken supporter of numerous criminalization bills that increased and mandated penalties for cannabis crimes. As the VP, while he continues to reject legalization, he has supported the separation of state and federal enforcement.

“I think the idea of focusing significant resources on interdicting or convicting people for smoking marijuana is a waste of our resources. That’s different than [legalization]. Our policy for our Administration is still not legalization, and that is [and] continues to be our policy.” TIME, February 6, 2014

“I still believe it’s a gateway drug. I’ve spent a lot of my life as chairman of the Judiciary Committee dealing with this. I think it would be a mistake to legalize.” ABC News, December 2010

Can he win in 2016?

Cannabis activists will be happy to hear that Biden has yet to announce his intentions to run for the big chair. At age 72, Biden would be one of the oldest chiefs of the U.S. and clearly would pursue anti-cannabis legislation. He continues to mourn the loss of his son, Beau Biden, and unless Hillary Clinton stumbles massively, seems to have little incentive to throw his hat in the ring.

Bernie Sanders

Who is he?

Multiple Term Senator – Vermont

His stance on cannabis:

Senator Sanders is out of Vermont, a state with a bright cannabis future. The governor of Vermont, Peter Shumlin, said he favors and would sign recreational legalization if it hits his desk. Sanders is a reflection of that policy. Bernie fully supports the legalization of medical cannabis, but has also expressed concern about regulating recreational legalization, mostly because of his past dealings with other illegal substances.

“The state of Vermont voted to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana and I support that. I have supported the use of medical marijuana. And when I was mayor of Burlington, in a city with a large population, I can tell you very few people were arrested for smoking marijuana. Our police had more important things to do. Colorado has led the effort toward legalizing marijuana and I’m going to watch very closely to see the pluses and minuses of what they have done. I will have more to say about this issue within the coming months.” Reddit AMA, May 19, 2015

Can he win in 2016?

The real question is, can he even win the nomination? He seems to appeal to a different demographic than Clinton and has polled well so far. However, like Biden, his age (73) seems to be one of a couple different hurdles. Sanders’ far-left politics and socialist ideologies have led many pundits to believe he simply won’t be able to garner enough mainstream support to actually pull the nomination away from Clinton.

Martin O’Malley

Who is he?

Former Governor – Maryland

His stance on cannabis:

Personally, O’Malley is against the use of both medical and recreational cannabis. Despite that fact, he has previously signed bills thru bills that decriminalized cannabis and assisted in establishing a medical cannabis program in MD.

“I’m not much in favor of it. We’ve seen what drug addiction has done to the people of our state, to the people of our city. This drug, its use and its abuse can be a gateway.” Mark Steiner Radio Show, January 7, 2014

Can he win in 2016?

Not Likely. Voters will likely either support Clinton or Sanders before jumping on the back of O’Malley, who seems to represent a meeting point between the two. Also, many political talking heads point to the recent Baltimore riots as detrimental to his campaign.

Who do you think would be the best choice for the cannabis industry? Who would you least like to see elected? Why? Join the conversation and comment below!

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