Marijuana Reform in the United States and Political Aspirations:
Marijuana reform is moving ahead in the United States, so much so that the idea of marijuana reform is not an uncommon or unexpected political topic for debate. With the presidential election getting closer, candidates are positioning themselves as best they can on the topic. Currently in the U.S., 23 states have passed laws that permit medical marijuana in some form, and four other states have recreational marijuana laws. The push for marijuana reform is one that is building momentum, and so many presidential hopefuls look have been asked to take a position on the topic. Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton has been asked to take a position on marijuana reform in the country and her opinions have evolved over the last year.
Hillary Clinton and Marijuana Reform in the United States:
IN the beginning, Hillary Clinton relayed that she did not think that the decriminalization of marijuana was the most appropriate action, but that additional research should be done. Then, more recently, she relayed more specifically that research needs to be initiated so that we can determine the benefits of marijuana use for medicinal purposes. Hillary is stepping into the arena of discussion regarding marijuana use in the U.S. and at this point, advocates for a change by the federal government so that additional research on marijuana can be started. Hillary has said that the federal government must remove marijuana from the Schedule 1 listing so that more research can be legally initiated. Regarding decriminalization, Clinton believes that those states that have already legalized marijuana for recreational use should be viewed as “laboratories of democracy.” She has taken a wait and see approach on the states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use. Those states include, Washington, Colorado, Alaska, and Oregon.
Clinton has also recently referenced the overpopulated prisons in the United States as the number of incarcerated relates to those there for marijuana related offenses. According to the executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), recent FBI data reveals that approximately 700,000 arrests were made last year for marijuana related charges and that about 90 percent of these arrests were for possession only. Hillary Clinton, as well as many other political leaders, believes that over-incarceration is a problem across the U.S. and that reform must happen.
Marijuana Reform in the U.S.:
Marijuana reform is gaining momentum and political leaders have taken notice. According to last month’s Gallup poll, 8 out of 10 Americans favor the use of medical marijuana. 58 percent of Americans support legal marijuana use. These numbers are significant. These numbers mean that our politicians and policy leaders will take notice. These numbers mean that reform will continue in 2016.