In just about a year from now, on November 8, 2016, thousands of citizens will be gathering bright and early , forming lines behind booths to vote for the new leader of America. Since this is still a while away, it is important in the meantime for voters to get educated about each of the candidates, and breakdown their stances on important topics. After tuning in to the recent GOP debate, it is clear that marijuana policies already are, and will continue to be, a heavily discussed issue for both parties throughout the entire rest of the campaign trail. The Republican candidates entered this debate guns blazing, and held nothing back, one even negatively referencing to his opponent’s use of pot back in his boarding school days. It seemed ignorant to me, that a person was getting judged by others for such a minuscule moment in his life, as opposed to being recognized for his many accomplishments and successful life as a whole thus far. Even as so many people are beginning to change their mind on what they once considered to be a dangerous drug, others still hold firm to this belief and continue to associate cannabis with a negative stigma. Despite the progression that has been made towards the acceptance of marijuana and the growth of a cannabis industry, one that’s currently thriving in Colorado, whoever is elected as the new President of the United States could potentially have the power to completely harness any further advancement should they deem necessary.
I’m definitely not the most politically savvy person nor do I have any idea who I’ll be voting for in the upcoming election, but I can help explain where some of the current 2016 front-runner candidates stand when it comes to marijuana. Staying up to date and informed on everyone who is running, including knowing their personal experiences and public stances on controversial issues, only helps when making a final, educated decision in the booth.
Jeb Bush (R)
If you watched the most recent debate, you know that Jeb is the candidate I was referring to above for getting called out for his use of pot in the past. Although he has publicly admitted to having frequently smoking pot and to have also been quite the party animal during his teenage years, the former Florida governor has since straightened up his act and now holds completely different views when it comes to the plant and those who use it to party. As a political leader, he strongly opposes the legalization of marijuana, both for medical and recreational purposes, and has a solid history supporting the war on drugs throughout his career. Jeb and his wife also serve on the advisory board of a radical anti-marijuana organization, this just being one more justification that opposing candidate and literal “pot-stirrer” Rand Paul factored in when labeling Bush as a hypocrite from behind his podium. However, recently something has caused Jeb to soften up a little bit, or maybe he had just had flashback of toking up with his buddies back in the good ol’ days, either way, at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference, he mentioned his support for individual states having the right to determine their own policies when it comes to marijuana and furthermore, that the federal government should not be given the power to interfere with these decisions.
Presidential puffing prediction: In my personal opinion, based on Jeb’s colorful past and subtle use of sly wit and sarcastic humor, he would make a pretty entertaining person to smoke a bowl with, should he ever decide to revisit the activities of his hazy dormitory days.
Hillary Clinton (D)
Hillary is a prime example of someone who is willing to change with the times and understand the progression of cannabis happening in our country. Hillary prides herself on never having smoked weed, ever, and made it clear that she isn’t planning on changing that anytime soon. However, she remains pretty open-minded when it comes to medical and recreational marijuana, and essentially just believes that further research needs to be done to demonstrate its benefits and highlight the possible dangers, before integrating it deeper into communities who opt for legalization. Before Hil formally decides to oppose or support marijuana laws, she wants to observe how the current situation and legalities continue to play out within our state, which is serving as a very positive example since legalizing.
Presidential puffing prediction: I wouldn’t want to be the one to make Hillary cave after all these years of pass pass passing, but if she did discover its benefits and wanted to perform her own research o the topic, it’s always fun sharing a bowl with a first-timer.
Donald Trump (R)
Donald Trump may have one of the strongest personalities when it comes to all of the candidates, but surprisingly his opinion towards marijuana isn’t one that is very strong at all when compared to others currently out on the campaign trail. Back in the 1990s, Trump was boldly in favor of legalizing all drugs, most likely basing his opinion from a businessman/revenue aspect. Now, he supports having access to medical marijuana 100%, but is completely against legalizing pot for recreational adult use, even using Colorado as a negative example, claiming that we have bad things going on here because of legalizing it. Ultimately, he believes that it should really be up to each state individually to decide what their marijuana policy will be.
Presidential puffing prediction: A dab or two could do wonders for Donald’s high-energy self. Who knows, maybe being high would result in him actually thinking before he speaks…just sayin’.
Chris Christie (R)
If you are a fan of weed, you are probably also not a fan of Chris Christie, who thus far in campaigning, has definitely been the most vocal when it comes to expressing his opposing stance regarding legalization. If he were to become president, Christie makes it clear that marijuana would not continue on the upward path that it is on today. He has thrown shade multiple times at states who have chosen to already legalize pot, including Colorado, and warns that he would use his power to crack down on these states and enforce the federal laws, therefore prohibiting recreational use of marijuana by adults even in places where the majority is for it.
Presidential puffing prediction: For some reason, I don’t think smoking a bowl with this guy wouldn’t be much fun at all. However, I do think that all of the candidates should be extremely knowledgeable about what they stand for, and part of knowledge definitely comes from experience. If Christie could loosen up just a bit, understand that the times they are a changin’, and maybe even just try a small dosage edible, his opinions on the matter might not be so close-minded after all.
Bernie Sanders (D/I)
Bernie has admitted to burning the greenery on two separate occasions during the 1960s, but shares that it wasn’t something that particularly tickled his fancy. That being said, he still strongly supports others being able to have access to medical marijuana and is curious about what’s happening regarding enforcement, criminal penalties and certain policies in states where recreational bud is legal. In the past, Bernie voted against subjecting federal employees to random drug tests and also sponsored the States’ Rights to Marijuana Act. The 73-year-old doesn’t believe that marijuana legalization is even a huge issue our country should be worrying about, but having already taken huge strides towards ending the war on the drugs, Bernie will continue with this same pattern, running on a pro-cannabis legalization platform for this election.
Presidential puffing prediction: Hey Bernie, the quality of marijuana has only improved since the 1960s, and if you’re so curious about the matter, I would be more than willing to share a bowl of weed from the 21st century with you!
Carly Fiorina (R)
Although she has respect for states who have already done so, when it comes to legalizing both medical and recreational marijuana, Carly really isn’t down. She believes that ultimately the decision should be left up to the voters in each state to decide and won’t try to crack down on any legalization that has already happened, but remains skeptical of the substance and holds firm with her opposing views. Even when offered medical marijuana while going through intense cancer treatments, the former CEO of Hewlett Packard turned it down, explaining that “we don’t really know how it interacts with other substances or other medicines.” Another interesting factor on the subject, is the tragic occurrence of Carly having to bury her stepdaughter, who passed away due to drugs. A large part of her campaign includes supporting decriminalization and coming up with ways to appropriately treat those suffering with drug addictions by using rehabilitation, rather than just throwing them in jail.
Presidential puffing prediction: She is another candidate that I wouldn’t particularly feel comfortable sharing a bowl with. However, in the recent GOP debate, Carly was quoted as saying “the marijuana they’re smoking today is not the same marijuana that Jeb Bush smoked 40 years ago,” so at least homegirl knows what’s up.
Rand Paul (R)
A candidate out of the red corner who supports the green? Yes, it’s true! Recently dodging questions about his personal use in the past, Rand Paul is instead focusing on the idea of decriminalization as a whole, including reducing the criminal penalties for those who have been arrested for marijuana possession. He supports individual states having the right to make their own legalization decisions and is even the co-sponsor of a bill that would allow marijuana-related businesses to have access to the banking system, a huge obstacle that these new companies currently face. Also a sponsor of the CARERS Act, he advocates that the federal government has no right to interfere with individual states’ policies regarding medical marijuana. Like father, like son, when it comes to this canna-friendly candidate.
Presidential puffing prediction: Rand might make a decent smoking partner…he doesn’t seem to be the judgmental type at all. I kid, however when compared to all of the other candidates, he definitely has one of the most open minds when it comes to this controversial topic.
Ben Carson (R)
The doctor is in, and while he agrees that marijuana can have medicinal benefits and has been proven to be useful in certain cases, he is also a believer that cannabis is associated as being a “gateway drug” and states who have legalized it are participating in hedonistic activity. Dr. Carson worries that society is evolving at too rapidly of a pace, and topics such as marijuana legalization aren’t receiving enough time and thought.
Presidential puffing prediction: I’ll pass on this one, and in this case, I’m definitely not referring to passing a bowl.
Marco Rubio (R)
Rubio has been verrrry strongly against the legalization of marijuana throughout his campaign so far. If elected as president, he would want to enforce the federal marijuana laws, this including the reversal of legalization that has already taken place. He believes that in the future, Colorado will regret the decision they have made to legalize pot. However, he is open to medicinal marijuana if it were to be in non-psychoactive form, meaning it wouldn’t be used for a high and would not alter the brain in any way.
Presidential puffing prediction: He claims he has never smoked the reefer, but a part of me just finds that hard to believe. I think Marco could be persuaded to take hits from a more dignified device…perhaps a vape pen?
Ted Cruz (R)
He admitted to toking up back in his high school days, but having not done so since, Cruz now opposes the legalization of cannabis for adult use. He’s a bit back and forth with his views though, as currently he supports the right of states being able to establish their own marijuana policies, but has previously been known to criticize the Obama administration for not enforcing federal marijuana laws in states like Colorado.