Hillary Clinton's stance on marijuana legalization is about as clear as the haze over Oregon when recreational use became legal in the state on Wednesday. It's also about as clear as Bill Clinton was when he said that he "didn't inhale" all those years ago. So, has Hillary Clinton smoked weed? If there's one thing she does want to make clear, it's that she hasn't smoked marijuana herself. But, there are still plenty of questions about her stance and her attitudes toward the substance she once called a "gateway drug."
Back in 2014, Clinton told CNN's Christiane Amanpour that she has never smoked marijuana. "I didn't do it when I was young. I'm not going to start now," she said in the interview. She went on to say that she doesn't necessarily support legalization of marijuana in general either.
I think we need to be very clear about the benefits of marijuana use for medicinal purposes. I don't think we've done enough research yet.
The interview came as part of Clinton's book tour following the release of Hard Choices in early June 2014. Fast-forward to July 2015 and Clinton is now officially a candidate for president. Not to mention, marijuana is a growing issue, especially at the state level. Do we still believe her denial? What could a "high"-profile admission (if she is lying) do to her campaign?
Obama has been open about his youthful experimentation with marijuana since his first book was published in 1995. Bill Clinton, after famously saying in 1992 that he "didn't inhale" when he used marijuana, has more recently opened up about his experience with the drug as well. Nearly half of Americans have reportedly tried marijuana, so Hillary is about as likely as she is unlikely to have experimented herself.
Here's where the suspicion of Hillary's denial comes in: Although Hillary says she has never smoked weed, she's not exactly a poster child for transparency. (Regardless of where you stand politically, you have to admit that this year's email scandal didn't leave her in the best light.)
When it comes to marijuana, in particular, Clinton doesn't have the most forthcoming track record either. She has dodged questions about it in the past, and when she has answered, her call for more research suggests that she doesn't have a strong opinion one way or the other. More research certainly isn't a bad thing, but if it suggests indecisiveness on her part, Clinton should probably just answer everyone's marijuana questions once and for all.
If she answers those questions and comes out against marijuana legalization, Clinton could raise some eyebrows among voters. According to Pew Research Center, support for the legalization of marijuana is rapidly increasing. If she comes out in support of legalization, though, she could be accused of flip-flopping on a growing issue, given her previous hesitation to endorse marijuana.
While Clinton argues that we need more research before legalizing marijuana, voters might also need more research about her own experiences with and opinions of the drug.
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