What Are The Candidates' Stances On Weed?

by Kendyl Kearly

Rand Paul is ready to light up this election. Although it might not make its way into the debates, the issue of medicinal and recreational marijuana has divided both parties — and this Kentucky senator is making his position on the issue increasingly clear. Rand Paul is appearing at a marijuana entrepreneurs fundraising event Tuesday, separating himself from the candidates who have not taken a clear stance on the legalization of marijuana.

Oh yeah, Paul is courting the cannabis crowd, probably showing up the the Denver, Colorado, event in what he thinks stoners wear: a Jamaican-printed beanie and Bob Marley shirt, ready to listen to the Grateful Dead and raid a Taco Bell. The reception is at the Cannabis Business Summit meeting, and Paul will address issues such as medicinal marijuana and banning regulations for recreational marijuana in states that have legalized it, according to The New York Times.

Paul co-sponsored a bill to make legalizing medicinal marijuana easier. He has received an A minus rating from the Marijuana Policy Project, the highest grade any of the 2016 candidates have received.

Clearly, Paul is a support of the freedom to smoke pot, but what about his fellow presidential hopefuls? Here's where some of the other candidates stand on marijuana.

Jeb Bush

Sean Rayford/Getty Images News/Getty Images

According to The Cannabist, Bush said he thought Colorado marijuana legalization was a bad idea, but that states should have the right to do it.

Ben Carson

Theo Stroomer/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Carson, who actually seems stoned most of the time, said that Colorado's legalization of marijuana is concerning because it is a gateway drug to more dangerous substances. He told Fox News, "It tends to be a starter drug for people who move onto heavier duty drugs — sometimes legal, sometimes illegal — I don’t think this is something that we really want for our society."

Hillary Clinton

Alex Wong/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Clinton hasn't made her stance very clear. She's said she wanted to "wait and see" what research developed on the subject before saying how she felt about recreational marijuana.

Ted Cruz

Mark Wilson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Ted Cruz is a marijuana federalist, according to Forbes. He said:

I actually think this is a great embodiment of what Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis called "the laboratories of democracy." If the citizens of Colorado decide they want to go down that road, that’s their prerogative. I personally don’t agree with it, but that’s their right.

Carly Fiorina

Theo Stroomer/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Fiorina seems opposed to recreational marijuana. According to The Washington Examiner, she said:

While I do in general support states rights, and the voters of Colorado have made a decision, I would also very quickly add that I think the legalization of marijuana is a very bad idea. I think it's misleading to young people in particular when we tell them smoking pot is like drinking a beer. It is not.

Lindsey Graham

Scott Olson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Graham has been unclear about recreational marijuana use. However, according to The Huffington Post, he said:

When it comes to medicinal marijuana and [medical marijuana-derived] oil, I think politicians should embrace what makes sense. When it comes to issues like this, I don't want to be academic in thought. This is about people. This is about families with sick children. Why should someone in my position get in the way of helping a child, if you can reasonably and logically do it?

Mike Huckabee

Theo Stroomer/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Huckabee is staunchly against marijuana in all of its forms. “I’m not one that’s in favor of simply creating a whole new avenue for people to engage in a drug that we have at least deemed until now to be illegal,” he told MSNBC.

Martin O'Malley


O'Malley opposed recreational marijuana use in Maryland, saying it could be a gateway to worse drugs, according to The Washington Post.

George Pataki

Darren McCollester/Getty Images News/Getty Images

According to The Huffington Post, Pataki said:

I'm a great believer in the 10th Amendment, and I believe in both [Colorado and Washington] there were referenda where the voters approved. So I would be very strongly inclined to change the federal law to give states, when they’ve had a referenda, the opportunity with respect to marijuana to decriminalize it, except for two factors. One is we have to know that neighboring states or the rest of the country are not being subjected to illegal marijuana because of the free selling of it and marketing in those states, and second with respect to young people.

Marco Rubio

Scott Olson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Rubio has supported limited medicinal marijuana but has avoided the question of legalizing it for recreational use. He also won't admit to ever smoking it before.

Bernie Sanders


Sanders supports medical marijuana use and admitted to smoking it when he was younger. He has expressed concern over recreational use but has reduced possession of small amount of pot to a civil infraction.

Rick Santorum

Jeff Swensen/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Unlike some of the other candidates, Santorum admitted to smoking pot in college, according to The Daily Caller. However, he said he regretted it and now opposes drug use.

Although it might not be at the top of these candidates' agendas, marijuana legalization is an important issue to many people. These politicians will have to make their stances clear soon.

Images: Getty Images (13)