Whether you vote or not, here are the condensed views on marijuana from the Republicans now poised to run for President in 2016.
Jeb Bush – Asked by Fox News’ Sean Hannity whether Colorado’s legalization of marijuana was a good idea, Bush said it was a “bad idea” and that he would have voted “no” were he living in the state at the time. But ultimately, he said, “states ought to have that right to do it.” Bush smoked pot in high school.
Marco Rubio – He opposes legalization and decriminalization of recreational marijuana. As president, he would enforce federal drug laws and “shut down the marijuana trade” in states that have legalized the substance. When it comes to medical marijuana, Rubio’s stance has been somewhat less hard-line. Rubio came out in favor of a bill in Florida that legalized the limited use of marijuana extracts for certain medical purposes. However, Rubio stops short of supporting broader medical marijuana laws that would allow cultivation, sale, production and distribution, the way medical cannabis laws in place in Colorado and California do.
Ted Cruz – “When it comes to a question of legalizing marijuana, I don’t support legalizing marijuana — if it were on the ballot in the state of Texas, I would vote ‘no,’” Cruz said. However, he went on to indicate that he wouldn’t interfere with laws in those states that had passed recreational marijuana laws, including Colorado and Washington, which became the first two to do so in 2012. I also believe that’s a legitimate question for the states to make a determination,” Cruz said. “And the citizens of Colorado and Washington state have come to a different conclusion. They have decided they want to legalize it. I think it is appropriate for the federal government to recognize that the citizens of those states have made that decision.”
Rand Paul – Paul has worked to reform draconian federal drug laws and is one of the original sponsors of a Senate bill that would significantly roll back federal restrictions on medical marijuana. Paul has also introduced several other bills aimed at reforming various aspects of the criminal justice system that have been warped by the war on drugs. Paul also backs the right of states to pass their own medical marijuana laws. While Paul hasn’t come out in favor of recreational marijuana legalization, he appears to hold a position similar to Bush’s and Cruz’s, emphasizing states’ rights with regard to adult-use laws on marijuana.
Chris Christie is the most vocal opponent of marijuana legalization in any form. He believes the medical marijuana programs enacted in 23 states are a “front” for full recreational legalization. Asked about the possibility of generating tax revenue by legalizing recreational marijuana in New Jersey, Christie said, “Not on my watch.” “States should not be permitted to sell it and profit” from legalizing marijuana, he said. Citing an “enormous addiction problem” in the U.S., Christie said that a clear message needs to be sent “from the White House on down through federal law enforcement.” He says he has never smoked pot.
Carly Fiorina – “I’m opposed to […] the legalization of marijuana,” she said in 2010. in February, Fiorina restated her opposition to recreational legalization, but also told a personal story about rejecting medical marijuana. “I remember when I had cancer and my doctor said, ‘Do you have any interest in medicinal marijuana?’” Fiorina recalled. “I did not.”
Mike Huckabee – a Southern Baptist minister, has never tried marijuana, doesn’t drink, and used to oppose dancing. He has said that he’s against increased access to any drugs, including marijuana, for recreational use. He told a medical marijuana patient in 2007 that he opposed the legalization of medical marijuana at the federal level, in part because he felt that there wasn’t enough scientific information available about the plant’s effects. In 2014, Huckabee posted a detailed statement on his Facebook page that suggested he still opposed legalizing both recreational and medical marijuana. He wrote in the post that while Colorado’s new law was generating significant tax revenue from marijuana sales, he remained concerned about the social costs of such measures.
John Kasich – Kasich said he was “totally opposed” to the recreational marijuana laws in Colorado and Washington, but later appeared somewhat unsure about what he would do about those laws as president. Similarly, he struggled to explain how he’d handle conflicts between state marijuana law and federal law. “I mean, the state has voted for it, you know what I mean? On what grounds would you shut them down?” “I’m totally opposed to [legalizing drugs in Ohio], because it is a scourge in this country,” Kasich said.
Ben Carson – Carson has stated his opposition to recreational marijuana use in socially conservative terms. Beyond that, Carson’s views on legalization remain unclear. He may be more open to medical marijuana, saying that use in “compassionate cases certainly has been proven to be useful.” Carson is the former chief of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University Medical School.
Rick Perry – was opposed to marijuana legalization in his state during his time in office, he strongly believes in states’ rights however. “I don’t agree with those decisions that were made by the state of Colorado or Washington, but I will defend it to my death, if you will, to allow them to make those decisions,” Perry said. Perry has also been a proponent of reforming drug laws, especially for low-level nonviolent offenders. He also says he never tried pot.
George Pataki – I’m a great believer in the 10th Amendment,” Pataki said during an interview on “The Hugh Hewitt Show” last month. “And I believe in both [Colorado and Washington] there were referenda where the voters approved. So I would be very strongly inclined to change the federal law to give states, when they’ve had a referenda, the opportunity with respect to marijuana to decriminalize it, except for two factors. One is we have to know that neighboring states or the rest of the country are not being subjected to illegal marijuana because of the free selling of it and marketing in those states, and second with respect to young people.” Pataki has admitted to trying marijuana in his youth.
Scott Walker – He has legalized the limited use of low-THC marijuana extracts for treatment against severe seizures in his state. “I understand from the libertarian standpoint, the argument out there. I still have concerns. I’m not, unlike the president, I still have difficulty visualizing marijuana and alcohol in the same vein.” The governor says he has never used marijuana, and claims the “wildest” thing he ever did in college was drink beer.
Rick Santorum – “And if we have controlled substances, they’re controlled substances for a reason. The federal law is there for a reason, and the states shouldn’t have the option to violate federal law. As Abraham Lincoln said, you know, states don’t have the right to wrong.” He has admitted to trying marijuana in college, though he says he’s “not proud” of it.
Bobby Jindal – He has said he’s open to a tightly controlled legal medical marijuana program in Louisiana, he remains opposed to recreational marijuana legalization. Asked whether Jindal would “bring the federal hammer down” on marijuana dispensaries that have opened in states that have legalized, the Louisiana governor did not come out in favor of states’ rights. “Yeah, look, I don’t think you can ignore federal law,” Jindal said. “Federal law is still the law of the land. It still needs to be enforced.” As far as personal marijuana use goes, Jindal said he has never experimented with any drugs.
Lindsey Graham – Graham says he’s opposed to legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes, but has left the door open on medical marijuana. “When it comes to medicinal marijuana and [medical marijuana-derived] oil, I think politicians should embrace what makes sense,” Graham said. On states’ rights, Graham’s position is unclear. However, after Washington, D.C., legalized recreational marijuana use, the South Carolina Republican didn’t show much interest in interfering. “To be honest, that’s pretty far down my list of priorities,” Graham said regarding an effort to block legalization in the District.
(News Source – Matt Ferner, Huff Post)