Hillary Clinton Changes Course on Private Prisons, Industry Stocks Plunge


Hillary Clinton is still the odds on favorite for the Democratic nomination, even as Bernie Sanders’ agenda items seem to set the tone for the Democratic primary debates. Sanders has led the way on most progressive issues, including marijuana legalization and criminal justice reforms. The Vermont Senator has staked out claims calling for an end to federal marijuana prohibition by removing cannabis from the list of federally controlled substances and he introduced a bill ending the federal private prison racket.

While not as strong as Sanders on ending prohibition, the former Secretary of State has stated that she supports medical marijuana and that states should be able to legalize marijuana without federal interference. Now, Clinton is calling for an end to mass incarceration and has stopped taking campaign cash from the private prison lobby. As Bloomberg reports, Clinton is such a large favorite to win the presidency that strong statements by her can impact financial markets and send stocks tumbling.

Ater Clinton tweeted out:

Stocks for a couple of private prison profiteers tumbled. Bloomberg reported on the private prison stock plunge and noted that this isn’t the first time statements by Clinton have moved stock prices:

Corrections Corp. of America fell more than 6 percent, lopping off approximately $200 million in value, while GEO Group Inc. dropped 4.2%, losing about $100 million.

Earlier this month, biotech stocks tanked after Clinton slammed Turing Pharmaceuticals for increasing the price of a drug by 50 fold. “Price gouging like this in the specialty drug market is outrageous,” she tweeted at the time.

It was not the first time she’s voiced concerns about private prisons and earlier this month her campaign said it would no longer take donations from the industry’s lobbyists and PACs.

Many political supporters may not appreciate Hillary Clinton seemingly co-opting many Bernie Sanders’ positions of the Drug War and criminal justice policies, but I must admit I welcome them. Whether you believe that Clinton is as trustworthy as Sanders on these issues is up to individual voters to decide of course, but I would personally support the candidate who has a long track record on the subject. However, candidates don’t get any more mainstream as Hillary Clinton and if she is calling for an end to mass incarceration and the private prison industry, the movement for reform is clearly growing stronger and stronger.

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.