Donald Trump Believes Marijuana Legalization is a State Issue


Candidates vying for the presidency diverged this week quite a bit, with Bernie Sanders on one end, supporting the descheduling of marijuana as a controlled substance, effectively ending federal cannabis prohibition and Republicans Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Carly FiorinaJohn Kasich and Ben Carson seemingly on the other end, wanting to continue federal prohibition. Ben Carson even stated that he wanted to “intensify” the failed War on Drugs. Somewhere in between Sanders and the prohibitionist Republicans are Rand Paul, relatively close to Sanders on the issue, and Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Clinton and Trump have both stated their support for medical marijuana and basically adhere to a states’ rights issue.

Clinton stated that she was a medical cannabis supporter, but was unwilling to state her support for legalization at this time, wanting to wait for more data out of states like Colorado, at the first Democratic presidential debate. Trump had alluded to his states’ rights position on cannabis at the Conservative Political Action Conference and he clarified that position at a recent campaign rally. The Washington Post reports:

Donald Trump softened his tone on marijuana legalization on Thursday, saying at a political rally that states should be allowed to legalize marijuana if they chose to do so. Trump reaffirmed that he supports making medical marijuana available to patients who are very sick.

“In terms of marijuana and legalization, I think that should be a state issue, state-by-state,” Trump said while taking a handful of questions during a political rally at a casino outside Reno on Thursday afternoon.

His comments came hours after the third Republican debate was held in Colorado, which legalized marijuana for recreational use in 2012. That same day, Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders said he wants to remove marijuana from the federal government’s list of most dangerous outlawed drugs, which would make it easier for states to legalize it.

Whether you like Donald Trump or not, and I will admit that I won’t be voting for him, it is a good sign that the Republican front-runner has stated his support for leaving marijuana a state issue. Ben Carson, John Kasich, Marco Rubio or Chris Christie would be disasters for the cannabis community and the country, as our federal government would needlessly waste resources and ruin lives exacerbating a failed war that has gone on for far too long.

Anthony, a longtime cannabis law reform advocate, was Chief Petitioner and co-author of Measure 91, Oregon's cannabis legalization effort. He served as director of both the New Approach Oregon and Vote Yes on 91 PACs, the political action committees responsible for the state's legalization campaign. As director of New Approach Oregon, Anthony continues to work towards effectively implementing the cannabis legalization system while protecting small business owners and the rights of patients. He sits on the Oregon Marijuana Rules Advisory Committee and fights for sensible rules at the legislature as well as city councils and county commissions across the state. Anthony helps cannabis business comply with Oregon's laws and advises advocates across the country. He also serves as content director of both the International Cannabis Business Conference and the Oregon Marijuana Business Conference, helping share the vision of moving the cannabis industry forward in a way that maintains the focus on keeping people out of prison and protecting patients. He was a member of the Oregon Health Authority Rules Advisory Committee, assisting the drafting of the administrative rules governing Oregon’s state-licensed medical marijuana facilities. He first co-authored and helped pass successful marijuana law reform measures while a law student at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law. He passed the Oregon Bar in 2005 and practiced criminal defense for two years before transitioning to working full-time in the political advocacy realm. His blogs on Marijuana Politics are personal in nature and don't speak for or reflect the opinions of any group or organization.