Where the 2016 presidential candidates stand on marijuana
Dylan StablefordSenior editorApril 20, 2015
(Photos: AP, Getty, Reuters; illustration by Yahoo News)
It’s April 20, or 4/20, a day when marijuana enthusiasts gather, legally or otherwise, to celebrate the joys of smoking pot — a sort of stoner Fourth of July.
Last year, President Barack Obama gave weed activists a boost when he said he considers marijuana no more dangerous than alcohol.
“As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life,” Obama told the New Yorker after Colorado’s historic legalization of recreational marijuana. “I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”
So where does the crop of current and possible 2016 presidential candidates stand on the issue of marijuana?
Jeb Bush listens to a reporter’s question in Jackson, Miss., on April 16, 2015. (Photo: Rogelio V. Solis/AP
Jeb Bush, former Florida governor
• Ever smoke marijuana? Yes.
• Position on pot: Opposes legalization of both recreational and medical marijuana.
“I smoked marijuana when I was at Andover,” Bush told the Boston Globe in an interview earlier this year. “It was pretty common.”
But the former Florida governor has taken a hard-line approach when it comes to legalization. Last fall, Bushreleased a statement urging Florida voters to reject a ballot initiative that would have legalized medical marijuana in the Sunshine State.
“Allowing large-scale, marijuana operations to take root across Florida, under the guise of using it for medicinal purposes, runs counter” to efforts to make Florida “a world-class location to start or run a business, a family-friendly destination for tourism and a desirable place to raise a family or retire,” Bush said.
A majority of Florida voters (57 percent) disagreed, but themeasure fell short of the 60 percent approval it needed to pass.
In an appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February, however, Bush said that while he opposes marijuana legalization, it should be up to the states to decide.
Hillary Clinton speaks during the first official event of her 2016 campaign in Monticello, Iowa, on April 14, 2015. (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty)
Hillary Clinton, former secretary of state
• Ever smoke marijuana? No.
• Position on pot: Supports medical marijuana “under appropriate circumstances.”
While her husband uttered the most infamous response to the pot question (“I didn’t inhale”) in American political history, Hillary Clinton says she has never tried marijuana.
“I didn’t do it when I was young; I’m not going to start now,” Clinton told CNN last year.
On medical marijuana, the former secretary said it “should be available under appropriate circumstances,” but more research is needed.
“I think we need to be very clear about the benefits of marijuana use for medicinal purposes,” she said. “I don’t think we’ve done enough research yet.”
On legalization of recreational weed, Clinton says she wants to see how it works in Colorado and Washington first.
“States are the laboratories of democracy,” she said. “I want to wait and see what the evidence is.”
While the legalization of marijuana may be a campaign issue in 2016, past use of the drug won’t be one.
According to a CBS News poll released Monday, 75 percent of American voters say that a candidate’s history of marijuana use would not affect their vote. And 53 percent of Americans say the use of marijuana should be legal — an all-time high.