Hillary Clinton Marijuana Policy Project

Marijuana Policy Project on Hillary Clinton

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced she is running for president on April 12, 2015.

Where does she stand?

Clinton has expressed support for legal access to medical marijuana and more research into the medical benefits of marijuana.

In 2014, when asked about the legalization laws approved in Colorado and Washington, she said “states are the laboratories of democracy” and that she wants to see what happens in those states prior to taking a position in support or opposition to such laws.

During the October 13 Democratic presidential debate she was asked whether she has taken a position on state legalization laws now that a year has gone by, to which she replied, “No.” Instead, she expressed support for laws that allow legal access to medical marijuana, as well as concern about U.S. incarceration rates, noting that she does not believe people should be imprisoned for marijuana use. In an interview the following day, she expressed support for allowing states to adopt their own marijuana policies and said she would not want the federal government to interfere in them.

What has she said?

“I really believe it’s important that states like Colorado lead the way, so that we can learn what works and what doesn’t work. And I would certainly not want the federal government to interfere with the legal decision made by the people of Colorado, and enforced by your elected officials, as to how you should be conducting this business that you have approved. So, no, I want to give you the space and I want other states to learn from you, what works and what doesn’t work.” MSNBC, October 14, 2015

When asked if she has taken a position on state marijuana legalization laws now that it has been a year since she said she wants to wait and see what happens in Colorado and Washington: “No. I think that we have the opportunity through the states that are pursuing recreational marijuana to find out a lot more than we know today. I do support the use of medical marijuana, and I think even there we need to do a lot more research so that we know exactly how we’re going to help people for whom medical marijuana provides relief.” 2016 Democratic Presidential Debate, October 13, 2015

“Honestly, I don’t think we’ve done enough research yet to say what the effects are and what they could be on different people with different physical or psychological issues, different ages — yes, medical first and foremost, we ought to be doing more to make sure that we know how marijuana would interact with other prescription drugs and the like. But we also have to know how even medical marijuana impacts our kids and our communities. … But the states are the laboratories of democracy, and we’re seeing states pass laws that enable their citizens to have access to medical marijuana under certain conditions, so we have the opportunity to try to study those. And then Colorado and Washington have proceeded to permit recreational use. And at the same time, we’re seeing the beginnings of important criminal justice reforms. … So I’m a big believer in acquiring evidence, and I think we should see what kind of results we get, both from medical marijuana and from recreational marijuana before we make any far-reaching conclusions… I think the feds should be attuned to the way marijuana is still used as a gateway drug and how the drug cartels from Latin America use marijuana to get footholds in states, so there can’t be a total absence of law enforcement, but what I want to see, and I think we should be much more focused on this, is really doing good research so we know what it is we’re approving.” KPCC, July 22, 2014

“I don’t think we’ve done enough research yet although I think for people who are in extreme medical conditions and have anecdotal evidence that it works, there should be availability under appropriate circumstances. … On [laws allowing adult marijuana use], 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.” CNN, June 2014

Grade - B

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