2016: The politics of pot
I can say with quite certainty that this topic will be much more heavily debated amid the 2016 Democratic primary than the Republican one. Then again, maybe not considering the various levels of marijuana decriminalization support within some factions of the GOP. Rand Paul, I’m looking at you.
Either way, Hillary Clinton will be forced to answer on this topic as most of the 2016 contenders will as well. Report from CNN:
When Hillary Clinton graduated from Wellesley College in 1969 — where the future first lady and Secretary of State says she did not try marijuana — only 12% of Americans wanted to legalize the drug.
In 45 years, however, the tide has changed for legalization: 58% of Americans now want to make consumption legal, two states (Colorado and Washington) already have and two more states (Oregon and Alaska) could join them by the end of the year.
Clinton is the prohibitive favorite for the Democrats’ nomination, but to many in the marijuana legalization community, she is not the best messenger for their cause.
“She is so politically pragmatic,” said Allen St. Pierre, the executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. “If she has to find herself running against a conservative Republican in 2016, I am fearful, from my own view here, that she is going to tack more to the middle. And the middle in this issue tends to tack more to the conservative side.”
So the smokers fear that Hillary will not stay true to the cause if she’s pinned down against a conservative Republican who outright opposes any lightening of marijuana laws. I’d say that’s a safe bet because, as noted in this piece, the Clintons are nothing if not political survivalists. See Bill Clinton throughout the late 1990s. Then again, if Hillary wins the nomination and faces off against someone like Rand Paul, there will be a pretty weighty debate ont he issue.