Marijuana And The Presidential Election: Where Do They Stand? Part 4

The Bottom of the Barrel (Plus Biden)

This will likely be our last introductory post in the “Where do they Stand” series for this election cycle. Don’t worry though, we’ll continue to update this series if we see any flip-flopping or if anyone who once seemed irrelevant somehow changes course. So far we’ve profiled each of the candidates with a reasonable chance of winning the presidency, with the exception of Joe Biden if he decides to throw his hat into the ring. Other than him, all that’s left are the candidates polling at less than 1%. These are folks who, on the GOP side, don’t even reach a level of concern high enough to justify Trump taking jabs at their looks. So we’ll dive in with Biden first because the others, frankly, hardly matter.

Presidential Front Runners and MarijuanaJoe Biden
Biden is quite a wild card for the next election cycle. Biden has understandably said that he just isn’t 100% there yet after the loss of his son. This is an admirable statement given that he would be the presumptive nominee for the democratic party, having waited his turn for the past eight years. And really, how fun would it be to see Joe up there? Who wouldn’t want this guy as our president

But in all seriousness, Biden is not the best candidate if you care about the legality of marijuana in any form. Biden has been known for his support of the war on drugs, and he has unequivocally stated that he is against legalization, saying “I think legalization is a mistake. I still believe it’s a gateway drug. I’ve spent a lot of my life as chairman of the Judiciary Committee dealing with this. I think it would be a mistake to legalize”

Biden does believe that penalties should be reduced for drug crimes though, and he also believes it’s a waste of time and resources to lock people up for marijuana. He also supports President Obama’s policies that have allowed legalization at the state level, so it’s a bit of a start.

Medical – doesn’t support legalization at all.

Recreational – No way.

The Rest of ‘Em

The rest of these candidates are polling at a collective 1.3% for Dems and 1.5% for the GOP. These bids seem pretty similar to me trying to race Usain Bolt in the 100 meters. It would be fun to say I did it, but unless Bolt were to break a leg and simultaneously got attacked by a pack of hungry wolves during the race, I wouldn’t stand a chance. So here’s (briefly) the bottom of the barrel in order of their current relevance.

Jim Webb – D – 0.6%.  I put Webb on here as a Dem because that’s who he’s lumped in with on the polls, but truthfully he’s gone back and forth between Dem and GOP over the years, so who knows what he really is other than a true centrist. With regard to marijuana, Webb appears to favor a states-rights approach, stating that “we’ll see how it plays out.” He also doesn’t support jail time for possession or consumption. Other than that, his views aren’t clear.

Medical & Recreational – States should choose

Martin O’Malley – D – 0.6%. Doesn’t support legalization in Maryland (his home state), but said Colorado is a good experiment as a “laboratory of democracy.” The good news is that he signed a bill decriminalizing possession, and also another bill that allowed for medical use (after opposing a broader bill). Since he didn’t veto these measures, it appears that his approach is likely to listen to his electorate.

Medical – Depends on the bill.

Recreational – Nope.

Bobby Jindal – R – 0.5%. Jindal is one of the only candidates who has come out and clearly stated his positions on most issues, including marijuana, and he is “not for legalization of marijuana. [He} think[s] that would be a mistake.” He also thinks that federal law should be enforced. “

Jindal does, however, support a restrictive medical law “as long as it’s tightly controlled and for truly genuine medical purposes, not just simply an excuse for legalizing marijuana….If it truly is tightly controlled, supervised by physicians, I’m OK with that.”

Medical – Supports very restrictive legislation.

Recreational – Strongly opposes.

Rick Santorum – R – 0.4%. Yes, he is still in the race, at least as of today. Santorum is opposed to medical and recreational use. He also does not believe that states have rights to enact laws that contradict federal laws. He “think[s] Colorado is violating federal law.”

Recreational & Medical – No way.

Lindsey Graham – R – 0.3%. Graham has been pretty clear on his positions, including on cannabis. It can all be summed up in one quote: “I’m against legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes. But when it comes to medical marijuana and this [CBD] oil, I think politicians should embrace what makes sense. When it comes to issues like this, I don’t want to be academic in thought. This is about people. This is about families with sick children. Why should someone in my position get in the way of helping a child, if you can reasonably and logically do it?”

Recreational – No.

Medical – If it helps patients (he doesn’t seem to yet know if it does though).

George Patakai – R – 0.3%. Pataki isn’t in favor of legalization in any form, and ohe pposed efforts to legalize medical use in New York based on advice from his medical advisers. He also does not support New York’s current medical regime saying that he “[doesn’t] think it’s a step in the right direction.”

On a good note, he is a strong advocate for states’ rights.  As such, he said he would “be very strongly inclined to change the federal law to give states, when they’ve had a referendum, the opportunity with respect to marijuana to decriminalize it.”

Medical and Recreational – Whatever the states choose, but he doesn’t like either.

Lincoln Chafee – D – 0.1%. Chafee is open to listening to what people have to say, and he has said that his position on marijuana “will evolve during the campaign.” He has also said that the tax revenue is tempting for governors ,joking that it’s “pot for potholes.” Given his statements, it appears he will swing whichever way the public wants him to!

Medical and Recreational – Whatever gets him a bigger piece of the pie.

For more on the upcoming election, check out our previous posts on the other candidates (and former candidate):