Marijuana legalization, both recreational and medical, will appear on the ballot in nine states on November 8. And it’s been a hot-button issue this election cycle.
Though this election season has been contentious, both Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, and Donald Trump, the Republican nominee, have similar thinking on the issue of marijuana legalization.
Both candidates have expressed support for medical marijuana, and have encouraged the federal government to allow more states to vote on legalizing marijuana.
Recreational marijuana is currently legal in four states, and 24 states have varying forms of medical marijuana laws on the books.
Donald Trump, the brash billionaire, has flip-flopped somewhat on this issue throughout his public life.
Recently, Trump has supported state’s rights to choose how to legislate medical marijuana, but has not expressly called for legalization.
“In terms of marijuana and legalization, I think that should be a state issue, state-by-state,” Trump told The Washington Post. “… Marijuana is such a big thing. I think medical should happen — right? Don’t we agree? I think so. And then I really believe we should leave it up to the states.”
He has also expressed support for medical marijuana, telling Bill O’Reilly in February that he’s, “in favour of medical marijuana 100%.”
“I know people that have serious problems and they did that they really — it really does help them,” Trump said.
But, Trump also called Colorado’s legal marijuana industry a “real problem,” in the same interview with O’Reilly, a departure from his position in 1990, when he told The Miami Herald that the US needs to “legalise drugs to win” the war on drugs.
And, Mike Pence, Trump’s running mate, has expressed his opposition to marijuana legalization and governs a state with some of the harshest marijuana-sentencing laws.
Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, has said that she will support states that are “moving towards” both recreational and medical marijuana legalization.
“There’s some great evidence about what marijuana can do for people who are in cancer treatment, who have other kind of chronic diseases, who are suffering from intense pain,” Clinton told Jimmy Kimmel in March. “There’s great, great anecdotal evidence but I want us to start doing the research
Clinton, however, is still measured in her support for recreational marijuana. She’s said that she doesn’t want the federal government to “interfere” with states like Colorado that have chosen to legalise recreational marijuana, and said that she wants to learn “what works and what doesn’t work.”
On Election Day, five states, including Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Maine, and Nevada, will be voting to legalise recreational marijuana. Another four states will be voting on legalizing medical marijuana, including Florida, Arkansas, North Dakota, and Montana.
California’s vote is particularly crucial. 60% of Americans support legalizing marijuana, according to the latest Gallup poll. If California’s vote goes through — which is looking likely — that means that the world’s sixth-largest economy would have legal weed, potentially affecting the rest of the country’s attitude.
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