Post Series: 2016 Presidential Candidates Drug Policies

As our country is gearing up for the 2016 presidential elections, there are countless topics for candidates to debate. In this three part series we will be looking at where the candidates stand on some of the issues that deal with drug and alcohol use.

One topic that we want to know about is the drug war. Where do our 2016 candidates stand on the drug war and legalization of controlled substances? Below are the top candidates’ stances on this important issue.

Hillary Clinton The former Secretary of State has been in the political spotlight for decades, and now is making a real run for the White House. Clinton has been open about her views on drug policy in general, but as far as legalization of marijuana, Clinton has been a bit hazy. Clinton has been quoted as saying she wants to see more research on the benefits and impacts of medical marijuana before the country makes a sweeping decision about legalization.

“I’m a big believer in acquiring evidence, and I think we should see what kind of results we get, both from medical marijuana and from recreational marijuana before we make any far-reaching conclusions,” said Clinton. “I think the feds should be attuned to the way marijuana is still used as a gateway drug and how the drug cartels from Latin America use marijuana to get footholds in states, so there can’t be a total absence of law enforcement, but what I want to see, and I think we should be much more focused on this, is really doing good research so we know what it is we’re approving.”

Donald Trump CEO of his own empire, Trump has what it takes to run a business. But what about running a country, and what about his stance on the drug war? Trump’s comments from the 1990s have come back to haunt him, because he has changed his stance somewhat in the past few decades. At a luncheon back in April of 1990, Trump told the crowd, “We’re losing badly the war on drugs. You have to legalize drugs to win that war. You have to take the profit away from these drug czars.”

Today, however, Donald Trump is a bit more subdued in his stance on the war on drugs. He is not in favor of legalizing marijuana. “I think it’s bad and I feel strongly about that,” said Trump. “They’ve got a lot of problems going on right now in Colorado, some big problems.” He did also give states an in if they choose to legalize the drug on their own. “If they vote for it, they vote for it,” he said.

Bernie Sanders This Senator from Vermont is one of the front runners for the Democratic Party. He supports medical marijuana, and even co-sponsored the States’ Rights to Medical Marijuana Act, reclassifying marijuana from a Schedule 1 drug to a Schedule 2 drug.

During the Democratic debate on Oct. 14, 2015, when candidates were talking about legalizing marijuana, Sanders said, “I suspect I would vote yes. And I would vote yes because I am seeing in this country too many lives being destroyed for nonviolent offenses. We have a criminal justice system that lets CEOs on Wall Street walk away, and yet we are imprisoning or giving jail sentences to young people who are smoking marijuana. I think we have to think through this war on drugs.”

Ben Carson The former neurosurgeon from Maryland is favored among many Republicans. The candidate does believe medical marijuana is useful in some cases, but is still not convinced it should be made legal. He also is against recreational marijuana.

Last year, Carson made his stance clear. “Medical use of marijuana in compassionate cases has been proven to be useful, but recognize that marijuana is what is known as a gateway drug– a starter for people who move on to heavier duty drugs,” said Carson. “I don’t think this is something we really want for our society.

“Would I recommend medical marijuana? Absolutely,” he said at a rally in Ohio. “I have no problem with medical marijuana. But that is very different from legalizing it for recreational use. I would not do that under any circumstances.”

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