Written by: J
Edited by: Patrick Thompson
In 2015, a running dialogue has been created- a final push to end the condemnation of marijuana as a Schedule I drug in the United States. As the public support grows for weed to become legal, our politicians have been revealed their stances on the substance. If this issue is important to you (which it probably is if you are an OpenStrain supporter!) it is imperative to inform yourself on the stances of the candidates.
At Wednesday’s GOP debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, many candidates weighed in on the hot button issue. Below is a recap of the events that transpired during the debate, and the candidates views on the matter:
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky
Verdict: Medical/Industrial Legalization
During the debate, Rand was given first dibs on the question, “Would you enforce the federal laws against marijuana in places like Colorado where it is legal? ”. The senator has always been a staunch supporter of states rights, so unsurprisingly, he referenced the 10th amendment and that the states are “left to themselves” on the issue. He also highlighted a disproportion of arrests and incarceration of the poor as failures of the War on Drugs- a highlight of the “hypocritical” nature of government and a growing concern of 2016’s voter base. Paul also called out Florida governor Jeb Bush for campaigning against medical marijuana. Paul cited Jebs’ “privileged” upbringing as a distinction of who goes to jail and who gets off scot free under marijuana’s current legal status.
Historically, Rand has been in favor of legalizing medical marijuana and industrial hemp; therefore, his stance at the debate was not surprising.
Governor Jeb Bush of Florida
Verdict: Never publicly came in support of medical
Rand’s zing of government hypocrisy referenced Mr. Bush’s and his classmate’s accounts of marijuana use during his stint at Phillips Academy. In a somewhat historic moment, Bush admitted to use in front of the audience, as well as the world. Bush’s response to Paul’s claims for being against medical marijuana legalization, he voted against the proposed legislation as a citizen because it could lead to loopholes to becoming a complete legality. Under the platform of the National Governors Association, “The nation’s Governors believe illicit drug legalization is not a viable alternative, either as a philosophy or as a practical reality”
Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey
Verdict: Medical only
Christie claimed that this is “his issue”, and adamantly denied being against medical marijuana, stating “In New Jersey, we have had medical marijuana law that I’ve supported, and implemented” in response to Ron Paul. However, historical analysis proves that Christie’s claim was not completely factual. The reality of the situation was that Christie attempted to delay a medical marijuana law signed by Jon Corzine as he was leaving office. Christie made additional regulations on the law under his rule, but the law still exists today (Rise to Power, by B. Ingle & M. Symons, p.202 ). However, in the debate, he vehemently denied any merit to recreational use. It will be interesting to see if his position will change in an attempt to come from behind in the polls.
Verdict: Siding with states rights, No decision on legality
In a shocking moment during the debate, former HP CEO Carly Fiorina stated that she buried a child due to drug addiction. She also said that children “are being mislead” about the safety of marijuana and that it is not the same product as something that Jeb would have smoked in the late 1960’s. However, Fiorina stated that she was in support of states rights. It is very tragic to have a death in a family due to substance abuse, but the oft-cited connection to cannabis being a “gateway drug” has been challenged as a case of correlation, not causation.