2016: The Marijuana Election
Published on 8/3/15
With the 2016 presidential election coming up fast, the ever-growing topic of marijuana reform is going to be a largely debated issue. Public opinion has shifted greatly over the last several years of legalization, however politically there is still a massive amount of lawmakers in the dark on the facts. Democratic candidates, Bernie Sanders and Lincoln Chafee, are in favor of decriminalization and medical marijuana, with an open mind towards federal legalization. Alongside them are Hilary Clinton, Rand Paul, and Lindsey Graham who support the state's right to legalize the drug, but have openly opposed federal/recreational legalization. Among the biggest opposers are candidates Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum who openly denounce marijuana reform on any level.
This past March, three senators took action: Republican Senator Rand Paul and Democratic senators Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand introduced a bill that would end federal prohibition on medical marijuana. The plan would also reclassify marijuana as a Schedule II drug as opposed to Schedule I, and it has bipartisan support in the Senate. President Obama made a statement on the issues, noting that as more states rethink marijuana prohibition, they could pressure Congress to federally reschedule the drug, acknowledging changing attitudes in most states. “Legalization is not a panacea, [but] locking somebody up for 20 years is probably not the best strategy,” the president said, referring to marijuana’s harsh federal penalties. “At a certain point, if enough states end up decriminalizing, Congress may then reschedule marijuana.”