Here comes the time for presidential candidates to discuss one of the most ambiguous questions, the marijuana issue.
The marijuana topic is difficult to avoid in this year’s political discussion. Days when simple discussion of using pot could embarrass everyone and lead to a scandal are over. We all remember how Bill Clinton admitted using the hush, but said that he “did not inhale”. Today it would sound ridiculously. The taboo on the marijuana topic is over, in several states it is already legalized for medical purposes, and it seems that more and more states are going to be more open to changing their law on the issue.
There is no consensus in pot politics, even inside Republican candidates. Chris Christie is gunning against legal weed in Colorado, he wants to forbid both medical and recreational marijuana as he considers it as a “gateway drug”. At the same time, Rand Paul holds a fundraiser for the weed industry in Kentucky.
Last week, the weed question was again put on the front burner. The candidates now face a new reality where, according to research, more than a half of Americans (almost 58 percent) favor legalizing marijuana, and more than 44 percent of the U.S. citizens admit they tried weed. Times have changed, now politicians cannot pretend that this question is not worth mentioning and discussing.
For the first time in presidential debate, the marijuana issue was brought up as a public policy issue. Some candidates engaged the topic, others tried to avoid it. Jeb Bush thinks, this situation can be a litmus test for the candidates. As for his own point of view, he supports medical marijuana legalization, but he agrees that this topic is a state issue.
Carly Fiorina is worried about using marijuana in schools. She is afraid that any kind of legal use of cannabis, even for medical purposes, can mislead children and make them think that it is not dangerous.
The Colorado situation echoes also on the democratic side. Martin O’Malley met with cannabis industry supporters in Denver trying to learn more about the issue. He believes that politics should face the facts and opinion of common people in Colorado. Bernie Sanders also supports decriminalization of the pot industry and medical marijuana in particular.
Colorado continues to remain the epicenter of the marijuana legalization issue and it can happen that pot question will become the Colorado brand.