As expected, the legalization of marijuana became one of the integral issues being discussed during the 2016 Presidential Elections campaign trail. Both the Democrats and Republican candidates spoke up on the issue of legalizing marijuana across the country or even within various states. After the turn of recent events, nominee Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump could be expected to speak on this matter during their respective campaigns.
Donald Trump the Republican nominee has changes his stance on the legalization of marijuana more than a few times. He had maintained that he doesn’t advocate smoking or doing drugs and has never himself been involved in any kind of experimentation with drugs. However, during 1990, his statement on the legalization of drugs was highly publicized due to its conflicting nature. Trump said that the government of United States should just go ahead and legalize drugs so that the money could be used to create awareness within the general public about the dangers of drug abuse.
An article in a newspaper quoted him as saying, “You have to legalize drugs to win that war (referring to the war on drugs and substance abuse). You have to take the profit away from the drug czars.” When he began his campaign trail, Trump changed his views on the matter on more than two or three occasions. During the CPAC conference, he was questioned about Colorado’s decision to legalize marijuana and he said that he strongly felt ‘bad’ as far as this situation was concerned.
He further clarified that medical marijuana was a completely different matter and supported the people who really needed it, but overall legalization was something he did not favor. Down the line and up till now, Trump’s stance on legalization of marijuana has considerably softened. This all happened as he started to slip in his poll and experts suggest that in order to gain greater support and following, Donald Trump on marijuana legalization could actually look towards legalizing marijuana, even if he was elected.
Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has refrained from openly commenting on the legalization of marijuana while subtly suggesting that she would be pro the idea. In an interview with ABC, she did say that if elected, she would make a possible move to remove the classification of marijuana from the Schedule 1 category which also categorizes dangerous drugs like LSD and heroin. This would allow a future medical study of the marijuana seeds.
In her statements, she has maintained that further research and proof will be catalysts to the ultimate decision of legalizing it but for now, she could look at it as a possibility.
According to different polls, approximately 89% of the general public in the Untied States wants marijuana to be legalized across the country. Around 14 states have their measures ready for the November ballots, and if all goes in their favor, recreational marijuana might be legalized within those at least. Bernie Sanders supported came out in full swing and backed the Democrat Party’s platform discussion calling for a ‘reasoned pathway to a future legalization of marijuana’.
Hence, experts as yet have predicted somewhat a mixed outcome to the possibility of marijuana legalization. While Hillary’s ‘wait and see’ approach has garnered skepticism, it is Trump who is surprisingly turning out to be the favorable option if marijuana legalization is to be propelled further. He has said it earlier before that if the war on drugs is to be won, he could try out the alternative to drug enforcement. However, whether he seriously plan to keep all the promises he has been making to the public or not is still uncertain and something only the future can tell.