Hillary Clinton’s attitude towards marijuana reform has noticeably evolved for the better since her last presidential run. When asked about the issue at a CNN town hall Clinton implied she thought there may be some value in allowing the new legalization laws in Colorado and Washington to be implemented for the time being.
Speaking about the new laws Clinton said, “On recreational, you know, states are the laboratories of democracy. We have at least two states that are experimenting with that right now. I want to wait and see what the evidence is.”
Not only is Clinton willing to have an open mind; but of course, inherent in this answer is the fact that we can’t wait and see what the evidence is from these state legalization experiments unless the federal government allows the experiments to take place by using a hands-off approach.
Her answer on medical marijuana, though, was more disappointing. While she said a few people should have access, she fell back on the classic dodge of saying there is not enough research. Clinton said about medical marijuana, “I don’t think we’ve done enough research yet, although I think for people who are in extreme medical conditions and who have anecdotal evidence that it works, there should be availability under appropriate circumstances. But I do think we need more research, because we don’t know how it interacts with other drugs.”
The fact is we have mountains of research about the effectiveness and safety of medical marijuana. In addition, Hillary Clinton and her husband are both to blame for why we don’t have more research on the subject. After all, Bill Clinton allowed the National Institute on Drug Abuse to continue abusing their monopoly over the supply of marijuana obstructing research in this country during his tenure. Similarly, Hillary Clinton did not work to fix the issue while a United States Senator.
Hopefully, this is only the beginning of Clinton’s evolution on the topic. By the time she is actually running for President it is likely at least two more states will have legalized marijuana and the issue will qualify for the ballot in half a dozen other states.
Jon Walker is the author of After Legalization: Understanding the future of marijuana policy