Ranking Presidential Candidates on Cannabis: Republicans

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 Republican ticket. Stay tuned for the Democrats in a later article.


Marco Rubio, Senator: Florida

Stance on cannabis:

Senator Rubio represents the antithesis of cannabis progression. He is a diehard for federal enforcement and has gone as far to say he would attempt to reinstate the enforcement of federal prosecution in states that have adopted legalized cannabis regulations.

“I’m against the legalization of marijuana.” C-SPAN, February 27, 2015

Would he attempt to reverse legalization in Colorado? Senator Rubio has said,“Yes. Yes, I think, well, I think we need to enforce our federal laws. Now, do states have a right to do what they want? They don’t agree with it, but they have their rights. But they don’t have a right to write federal policy as well. It is, I don’t believe we should be in the business of legalizing additional intoxicants in this country for the primary reason that when you legalize something, what you’re sending a message to young people is it can’t be that bad, because if it was that bad, it wouldn’t be legal.” Hugh Hewitt Radio Show, April 14, 2015

Can he win in 2016?

He has been pegged as the front-runner of the Republican Party by multiple news sources, including Charles Krauthammer. Rubio seems to be the most disliked Republican candidate by Democrats, which makes sense when you consider he aims to appease the socially conservative. Rubio is easily in the top 3 candidates for the nomination.


Rand Paul, Senator: Kentucky

Stance on cannabis:

Perhaps the most liberal Republican in regards to cannabis legislation, Senator Paul fully supports states’ rights to govern their own cannabis policies. He has, on numerous occasions, voiced his support for decriminalization and or reduction in criminal penalties in cannabis related offenses.

In addition, he also is a sponsor of the CARERS Act, a bipartisan bill that would provide states protection from federal interference when it comes to cannabis enforcement. With this bill, states would also have the opportunity to enact their own policies as it pertains to medical cannabis.

Senator Paul is also a co-sponsor of a bill that would allow banking access to cannabis related businesses, something that does not currently exist and is certainly hampering industry growth.

“I’m not for having the federal government get involved. I really haven’t taken a stand on … the actual legalization. I haven’t really taken a stand on that, but I’m against the federal government telling them they can’t.” Roll Call, November 4, 2014

Can he win in 2016?

Some political pundits have referred to Rand Paul as an ‘unorthodox’ choice due to the fact that many of his political stances differ from the typical Republican line. That being said, he has garnered support on both sides and would seemingly represent ‘the best of both worlds’ in a general election. If he gets the nomination, he would become an instant favorite to win it all, as he seems to appeal to all sides of the vote.


Ted Cruz, Senator: Texas

Stance on cannabis:

Personally, Ted Cruz opposes the legalization of cannabis at the federal level. However, he does support a state’s right to draft their own policies. Despite that fact, he has been openly critical of the Obama Administration for not enforcing federal policy in states where cannabis has become recreationally legal.

“I don’t support drug legalization, but I do support the Constitution. I think individual states can choose to adopt it. So, if Texas had it on the ba lot, I’d vote against it, but I respect the authority of states to follow different policies.” Texas Tribune, March 24, 2015

Can he win in 2016?

Cruz has won as an underdog in elections before. Although, in this case, his background would indicate he would fail to win enough mainstream support to truly make a push, as he has a history of pandering to his existing backers rather than reaching out in hopes of garnering new support. He wouldn’t be the worst outcome for cannabis activists, but his chances are slim.


Donald Trump, Reality TV star, Business Mogul, Comic Relief

Stance on cannabis:

He supports legal access to medical cannabis and states’ right to enact their own cannabis policies. Trump has previously stated (1990 Interview) that he supports the legalization of all drugs, but has since backtracked, saying he opposes legalization and regulation.

“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

“I’d say [regulating marijuana] is bad. Medical marijuana is another thing, but I think it’s bad and I feel strongly about that. [In response to states’ rights argument] If they vote for it, they vote for it. But, you know, they’ve got a lot of problems going on in Colorado right now. Big problems. But I think, medical marijuana, 100%.” C-SPAN, February 27, 2015

Can he win in 2016?

Insert ‘When Pigs Fly’ reference here.


Jeb Bush, Former Governor (1999-2007): Florida

Stance on cannabis:

Plain and simple – Jeb Bush is on the advisory board for Drug Free America Foundation. Even though he’s an active supporter of the anti-cannabis movement, Bush does support the individual states right to choose for themselves.

“I thought [legalizing marijuana in Colorado] was a bad idea, but states ought to have that right to do it. I would have voted ‘no’ if I was in Colorado.” C-SPAN, February 27, 2015

Can he win in 2016?

Not likely. Seeing that he is the son and brother of former presidents, he seems to have a leg up (or down) based on his bloodline. He is probably the biggest wildcard in the upcoming 2016 presidential race, as polling has been mixed, even with support from high level Republicans.


Bobby Jindal, Governor: Louisiana

Stance on cannabis:

Governor Jindal supports limited medical cannabis access and is opposed to recreational legislation and states’ rights to choose. Jindal believes that federal law is the law of the nation and should be enforced over that of the state. Like Rubio, Jindal represents a regression in cannabis legislation as a political candidate.

“I don’t think anyone should be legalizing marijuana; I think that’s a mistake. When it comes to the issue of medical marijuana, I’ve said as long as it’s done under tight restrictions, I can be okay with that.” ABC News, February 26, 2015

“I don’t think you can ignore Federal law. Federal law is still the law of the land. It still needs to be enforced.” The Washington Times, April 1, 2015

Can he win in 2016?

Doubtful. The Jindal name is only beginning to hit the mainstream media. Luckily for cannabis activists, he isn’t likely to gain enough widespread support to make on to the 2016 ba lot.

In your eyes, who is the most appealing Republican candidate? Who do you think would be the worst to happen to the cannabis industry? Join us in the conversation below…

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