REPORT CARD: Grading the Candidates on Cannabis

With the next election fast approaching, we are once again asking ourselves, who is the most qualified to lead the free world? When it comes to the President of the United States, the ideal is someone who sees the world through a lens like our own, able to see the world as evolving, with a background and experiences we can relate to—who can relate to us.
Despite the overall lack of policy change, Obama has gradually expressed his support for a marijuana policy that's rooted in science and that doesn't unfairly punish users.1 In 2004 he stated his support for decriminalization, but made it clear he was not for legalization.2 Since 2008, 13 states have legalized medical marijuana, bringing the current total to 23, including the District of Colombia, with 7 more putting forth initiatives in 2016. In 2014 the Obama Administration directed federal prosecutors to stop enforcing drug laws that contradict state marijuana policies.3
Simply endorsing medical marijuana however is not enough. Many feel, including the chairman of the marijuana Majority, Tom Angell, that the President should use the executive powers to reschedule marijuana and protect dispensaries.4


Jeb Bush: C-
Ted Cruz: C+
Carly Fiorina: C+
John Kasich: C-
Rand Paul: A-
Marco Rubio: D
Donald Trump: C


Hilary Clinton: B
Martin O'Malley: B-
Bernie Sanders: A


Jeb Bush (R)
•    Has a long history of supporting the War on Drugs and opposing marijuana legalization.
•    He and his wife are on the board of the Drug Free American Foundation—a primarily anti-marijuana organization.
•    In 2014 he opposed a medical marijuana initiative in Florida, and in a December 2015 interview, he said he supports decriminalization, but called marijuana "a gateway drug," and "highly toxic."
•    Has said he supports states' rights to set their own policies on marijuana.
Ted Cruz (R)
•    Has repeatedly opposed legalization.
•    Says he supports states' rights to set their own policies on marijuana legalization, but he criticized Obama for not enforcing federal marijuana laws in Colorado and Washington.
Carly Fiorina (R)
•    Is against legalization for any purpose, medical or otherwise.
•    Has recently expressed support for decriminalization, as well as states' rights to establish their own marijuana policies.
John Kasich (R)
•    "Totally opposed" to the legalization of marijuana in any form, including medicinal.
•    Supports states' rights to set their own policies on marijuana legalization.
•    About medical marijuana, he has said, "we don't need that, there are other ways to [treat pain].”6
Rand Paul (R)
•    Has consistently supported states' rights to establish policy regarding marijuana.
•    Vocal supporter of decriminalization and reduced penalties for marijuana possession.
•    Sponsor of the CARERS Act - a bipartisan bill that would allow states to set their own policies regarding marijuana legalization, without interference from the federal government.
•    Co-sponsor of a bill that would allow marijuana-related businesses access to the banking system.
Marco Rubio (R)
•    Has shown some support for non-psychoactive forms of medical marijuana, but he is opposed to legalization.
•    Says he supports states' right to set policy, but he would enforce federal law in states that have repealed marijuana prohibition.
Donald Trump (R)
•    In 1990 he favored legalizing all drugs, but now he opposes legalizing, or even regulating marijuana for adult use.
•    Supports legal access to medical marijuana,
•    Supports states' right to establish policy regarding marijuana.


Hilary Clinton (D)
•    Has expressed support for safe access.
•    Supports medical marijuana, and would like to see more research into its benefits.
•    Supports states' right to set policy.
•    In 2015 she said she supports reclassifying marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule II drug—allowing for more research into its medical benefits.
Martin O'Malley (D)
•    As governor of Maryland he spoke out against marijuana use.
•    Despite his personal opinions:
•    In 2014 he signed bills into law that decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
•    Established a working medical marijuana program.
•    In 2015 he said he supports reclassifying marijuana to Schedule II drug.
Bernie Sanders (D)
•    Supports allowing states to legalize and regulate the use of marijuana.
•    Has been consistently critical of the War on Drugs.
•    Has said he would vote to legalize and regulate use in NV in 2016.
•    Intends to propose legislation that would remove marijuana entirely from the federal drug schedules. This would allow:
•    Access to banks by marijuana businesses.
•    Marijuana to be regulated, like alcohol—state by state.
•    Access to tax deductions not available because of federal regulations.