Current Speaker of the House and former Vice Presidential candidate, Paul Ryan, has had some very interesting opinions as far as the marijuana legalization debate goes. Paul Ryan on marijuana legalization, he doesn’t have a very favorable history when it comes to cannabis legalization, even for medical purposes, but over the years, he has adopted a different and more relaxed view on the matter.
In 1999, he voted against the use of medical marijuana and in favor of its blocking in the state of Washington D.C. where it later became legal. In 2006, he voted against the passing of a bill which was to prevent officers from the Justice Department and DEA prosecuting medical marijuana users who complied with all the state laws.
Even after that, Ryan kept on voting against medical marijuana patients during budget amendment votes carried out on this subject. After 2012, he did not support or cosponsored any such act or legislation which has been in favor of the legalization of medical marijuana.
However, despite all this, when he has been questioned on his stance, he has managed to give a very different opinion on the matter. In 2012, when an interviewer asked for his stance on Colorado’s legalization of medical marijuana, he said, “It’s up to Coloradans to decide.” Furthermore, he went on to say, “My personal positions on this issue have been let the states decide what to do with these things. This is something that is not a high priority of ours as to whether or not we go down the road on this issue. What I’ve always believed is the states should decide. I personally don’t agree with it, but this is something Coloradans have to decide for themselves.”
While Paul Ryan on marijuana legalization expressed that he personally didn’t support it, he was going to favor individual states’ rights when it came to the legalization of medical marijuana and the requisite laws. Many other Republicans also echoed similar views on this matter.
When he became the Speaker of the House, the debate arose again on whether Ryan would favor the issue of medical marijuana. Many believed that as long as he took no steps to oppose such legislation, the leaders of the House would be able to work around it.
Medical marijuana has overwhelming support from the American public and is legal in up to twenty-three states as of now (2016). The Conservative views towards it began to soften with certain bills being passed that relaxed the regulation and use of medical marijuana across the country.
One of these bills was a low-THC bill that would allow cannabis, less than 0.3 percent of THC to be removed from the classification of marijuana. This would legalize ‘hemp oil’ production and allow the CBD filled oil to be legally used everywhere across the country. Almost fourteen Democrats and thirteen Republicans signed the bill which would set a low limit of THC than allocated by most states. Representative Paul Ryan was one of the co-sponsors of the bill.
Ryan said, “It’s a narrow exception that is worthy of being granted”.
Paul Ryan on marijuana legalization has maintained that he has never been in favor of the legalization of marijuana, as also evident by his actions. His interview in 2012 gave a very different story as he expressed that he was in support of individual rights of states when it came to the distribution of medical marijuana. Then, later on, he appeared to have relaxed his stance and even co-sponsored a pro-medical marijuana bill.
While it can be said that his changing opinion could be a result of changing times or public perception, his political standing has been quite clear.