Where They Stand

As everyone knows, this is an election year. Because there are many issues at stake, and even more views on those issues, there can be some loss and confusion as to where candidates stand. Having won the primaries so far, Hillary Clinton(D), Bernie Sanders(I), Donald Trump(R) and Ted Cruz(R) are poised to be in charge of the nation’s drug policy. Here is a rundown on what they currently think. 

Hillary Clinton: Former Senator and Secretary of State Clinton is a proponent of watching and waiting. Along with believing that states serve as a proving area for overall federal policy, she also advocated lowering marijuana from a Schedule I drug to Schedule II on the Controlled Substances Act. The move would allow researchers more access and freedom to do so. However, the move doesn’t exactly limit the ability of the federal government to override existing state laws in order to prosecute offenders.

Bernie Sanders: Though they are both running on the Democratic ticket, Senator Sanders’ position is much more lenient on the issue than Clinton’s. He believes the drug war was a failure, and as a bonus consequence has impacted minorities much more harshly. Thus he advocates treating nonviolent drug offenders and goes further than Mrs. Clinton by introducing legislation to remove marijuana from the controlled substances list entirely. 

Donald Trump: Mr. Trump hasn’t said much on the issue other than saying that he supports medical marijuana. While last fall he said he opposes legalizing recreational marijuana, his position in the 90’s was quite different. Back then, he stated that we should think about legalization since we were losing the war on drugs. 

Ted Cruz: Senator Cruz, along with Mr. Trump opposes recreational marijuana. In fact, he railed against Obama for not enforcing federal law in states that relaxed their own statutes on marijuana. However, he has stated that Washington should “recognize that the citizens of those states have made that decision,”  showing that he is at least open to allowing states to determine their course.

Though he says states should decide, he also indicated that he would vote against any such measure should it be placed on the ballot in his own state of Texas. It’s unknown whether or not he’ll actively campaign against it.

In Conclusion:

As we can see, the Democratic Candidates are more open in terms of legalization, however none of the  four candidates have said anything regarding an outright ban. Clinton and Sanders are closer to federal decriminalization while Trump and Cruz respect the States’ right to decide.

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