As more candidates announce their campaigns for the 2016 Presidency, we couldn't help but wonder what each politician's presidency would mean for the state of cannabis in the U.S.
Some candidates have openly shared their thoughts on cannabis while others are a little more shifty. For example, we know what Bernie Sanders would do for America if he became President – he emphasizes end the War on Drugs, decriminalizing cannabis nationwide, and helping reduce the prison population. Other candidates, such as Chris Christie, for example, would crack down on cannabis and even go as far as enforcing federal law in states with legal medical marijuana or recreational programs. A Christie presidency would push patients back into the scary, unregulated waters of the black market.
Luckily for us, however, Chris Christie is not the front-runner for the GOP candidacy. Instead, the Republican candidate who is currently leading the polls and could secure the nomination for is none other than Donald Trump.
Trump, noted for being a businessman, reality show host, and notorious sufferer of “foot-in-mouth” syndrome, seems an unlikely Republican leader. In the weeks since he announced his candidacy, he's proclaimed that Mexican-American immigrants are all drug smugglers, criminals, and rapists that would be deported the minute he is elected, and he's exhibited a blatantly misogynistic attitude when being interviewed. And yet, here we are, America — despite Trump's eyebrow-raising policies, there's still a strong possibility that this crazy-coiffed braggadocio could become the next leader of the free world. But what would a Trump presidency mean for cannabis?
Initially Trump was a cannabis supporter, seeking to end the War on Drugs, legalize cannabis, and cash in on the revenue decades before the rest of the country, making his proposal to a Florida audience as far back as 1990:
We’re losing badly the war on drugs. You have to legalize drugs to win that war. You have to take the profit away from these drug czars….What I’d like to do maybe by bringing it up is cause enough controversy that you get into a dialogue on the issue of drugs and you start to realize that this is the only answer; there is no other answer.
However, in more recent interviews, Trump started singing a different tune on legalization. When asked about Colorado, his response was disheartening:
I think it’s bad and I feel strongly about it. They’ve got a lot of problems going on right now in Colorado, some big problems.
Which problems is he referring to, exactly? The extra revenue going back to educational funds? The booming economy and abundance of new jobs? The drop in violent crime and property crime?
Trump does claim to support states' rights to legalize, saying, “If they vote for it, they vote for it.” He also acknowledged support for medical marijuana, opining that “Medical marijuana is another thing. I think medical marijuana, 100 percent.”
Considering Trump had a firm stance towards ending the War on Drugs decades ago, his recent change of heart is disappointing, especially considering that he currently has a clear lead on the other Republican candidates. However, his polling numbers do not fare as well as Hillary Clinton's when it comes to nonwhite voters.
So, the question remains: how would the cannabis movement be affected under a Trump presidency?
We’re taking some minor solace in that Trump is, by definition, a businessman who recognizes that money talks. If he realizes the incredible amount of revenue produced from legalizing cannabis, as well as the reduction in costs for law enforcement and prisons nationwide, perhaps he may see the light.
2. Who’s your chosen canna-candidate that you would like to see leading this country into a new era of cannabis and why?