The truth is that my generation, millennials, just isn’t as involved in politics as we should be. We’ve grown up breaking the traditional rules and roles that were once the norm in our nation. We’ve also grown up feeling that what we say do and feel doesn’t matter, that our opinions don’t count, and that the elders who govern our nation will do as the please, regardless of what the people truly want. We have been ignored by politicians and our ambitions now carry a high price tag. We were trained to go to school, go to college, then pursue a career. Yet in that time, the government drove the economy into the ground, raised tuition, and increased interest on student loans. Now, there are too few jobs, and too many of us are drowning in student debt with degrees that cost a fortune and no place in the world. It feels as if our troubles don’t matter.
We were left behind.
We need a candidate who gives a damn about us. We view the world differently and we believe that there are different ways of governing the country than have been practiced in the past. We long for change, yet we have no motivation to attain it because we have no dog in this fight. We aren’t even truly recognized and respected as a part of this fight. Many feel they cannot trust our politicians, and honestly, some don’t know a thing about them because they say one thing and do another, making promises it appears they had no intentions of keeping. Therefore, we steer clear of voting for them.
In our time we have seen a mass shift in the perception of weed because many of us smoke it. Currently, there are 7 states where recreational marijuana is legal and 23 states where medicinal marijuana is legal. There are still 50 states where all marijuana is federally illegal and is held as a Schedule I Controlled Substance. The marijuana industry is suffering greatly from this. In my opinion the government has said, “Go ahead! It’s kind of legal, so invest all that you can into it: time, dedication, all your money. That way, when you make enough, we can come in to take it and say, just kidding! It’s completely illegal!” Profiting far more off of reputable businesses that they did off of drug dealers. Marijuana is still not fully accepted. Pot smokers are treated like delinquent children and criminals who know nothing of what’s good for the world because they call us addicts with impaired judgment. When will someone come along and stop this, defend our rights and our dreams of a better United States? Is there someone already in the race for the presidency who will?
“Hello…. Is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me. Is there anyone home?”
In this article, we’ll review each candidates’ stance on marijuana. We’ll tell you who our best choice is for reform.
We will cover six presidential candidates, starting with who’s best and worst for the weed industry, and discuss the others stances on the issue: Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich.
Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders has stated his support for the federal legalization of marijuana and has publicly addressed his intentions for reform and progress by calling for the decriminalization of marijuana. According to feelthebern.org, “He supports medical marijuana and the decriminalization of recreational marijuana, and has said that he supports the right of states to opt for full legalization.” He has gained the alliance of influential people in the industry, such as Tommy Chong, who recently announced his commitment and encouragement to vote for Bernie. Bernie is also the favorite of young voters, who favor a political revolution. In 2001 he co-sponsored a bill to move marijuana down to schedule II and co-sponsored a 2015 bill that would ensure access to banking services for legal businesses in the cannabis industry. So far, he is already putting an effort toward legalization and if elected to President, he may make it happen. Senator Sanders is also the only candidate with an A from the Marijuana Policy Project
Hillary Clinton, democrat, feels that marijuana does have medical uses but also has high potential for abuse. Therefore, she wants to move marijuana to Schedule II. She still feels that we haven’t done enough research yet to remove it from scheduling. High Times stated in an article that, “Apparently over 29,000 studies on the government’s PubMed database just aren’t “enough research yet.”
Donald Trump strongly favors legal access to medical marijuana and believes it should be left up to the states to determine their laws on it. However, he is opposed to legalizing and regulating adult use of weed. He has been highly critical and degrading toward those candidates who have admittedly smoked marijuana in the past. As Forest Gump, a truly good example of an American icon, with questionably more sense than Trump, would say, “That’s all I have to say about that.”
Ted Cruz, has definitely admitted to smoking pot, but claims it was a “mistake.” Funny thing is he opposes the recreational use of it. However, he does believe that it is up to the states to decide whether or not they legalize. Were that opportunity to occur in Texas, he would vote against the state’s legalization of marijuana.
Republican Senator of Florida, Jeb Bush, has admitted to smoking marijuana 40 years ago in high school and has been greatly criticized for it by other candidates. Now, though he voted against it in Florida, he claims that he feels that it is each states’ decision to legalize cannabis. “The exchange came during a broader debate about states rights and marijuana laws. While Bush has personally campaigned against medical marijuana, he agreed with Paul that states like Colorado should be allowed to decide marijuana laws for themselves.” He supports decriminalization of marijuana but stated that it is a gateway drug that has contributed to the heroin epidemic in the U.S. Though he was once a stoner himself, it is clear that he has some negative perceptions of weed and these may become prevalent while in office, should he be elected.
Marco Rubio, a republican, claims that there is no benefit of marijuana and that no good can come out of legalizing it. However, he stated that “if” weed has any medicinal use it should be taken to the FDA for approval. He completely opposes legalization. He even goes so far as to compare marijuana to alcohol. John Kasich, another Republican candidate, has equally ridiculous stands on marijuana, stating that it is equivalent to heroin. He too is strongly against decriminalization. He believes that marijuana has no medicinal uses. If elected, he will take it upon himself to lead a campaign to rid the US of such drugs. In other words, he’s the farthest from what’s best for the marijuana industry.
It’s hard to have faith in politicians. I completely understand. I also understand that it is difficult to hold such a position wherein every goal you had voiced prior to aquiring office requires jumping through more hoops than one had initially anticipated. It is impossible that any person elected to the presidency will follow through on all of the campaign promises they made. The president, though the leader of our nation, still has others to answer to. They don’t get to just do whatever they want. Things have to be approved and voted on by members of the government and the American people. I imagine that one of the biggest downfalls to becoming president is that all of the hopes and dreams that you had of changing the world, are still not up to you to implement, then millions of people hate you for not doing them. No one is all powerful, yet we put that pressure on our presidents as though they can do everything we demand at the drop of a hat. Though they can’t keep their word on everything they say when running, what they say gives us insight as to what their morals, values and beliefs are. This will at least help us to keep the wrong person from being elected to lead our country.
If you know nothing else of the candidates, at least know this, marijuana is a natural plant that has a number of benefits that far exceed many of the pharmaceuticals that are prescribed, without the negative side effects that accompany them. There are veterans, children, elderly people, and many other citizens who can be healed through the use of cannabis. Electing someone who does not see these qualities as true or adequately researched would be a step in the wrong direction, running the risk of denying these patients their needs. Make an educated decision when you vote. Make a decision that supports what you believe in. Most importantly, vote. Don’t leave it in the hands of old school anti-cannabis voters to elect our next president. Elect a president who believes in the power of marijuana.