Why isn't marijuana a bigger part of the Presidential Debate?

Here’s a map of states where its legal for medical reasons.

Then you’ve got Colorado, Oregon, Alaska and D.C. as full-on legal.

That’s half having marijuana conditionally and nearly a tenth with few conditions.

Why aren’t we talking about this?

Not sure but I was a young teenager in California when pot was de-criminalized IIRC in 1976. It’s been pretty much a non issue since.

All the Repubs (assumedly) want to have it banned, the 2 D candidates have no problem with the current course of things. Given that we’re in primary season, there’s nothing to debate… yet.

I’m pretty sure Bernie wants it removed from the federal drug schedules, which would leave it entirely up to the states.

And Washington.

It came up during one of the early Dem debates. IIRC, Bernie wants to decriminalize it at the Federal level. Hillary wants to reschedule it, allow the current State experiments with decriminalization to go ahead and see how that goes.

I imagine it hasn’t gotten much play simply because, as a practical matter, their positions basically boil down to the same thing. Bernie is unlikely to get a decriminalization bill through Congress, so he’d end up on basically the same course as Hillary’s proposal.

The General election will probably be different though. It seems likely that whomever wins the nominations, the Republican will be in favour of the Feds cracking down on State-level experiments with decriminalization*, and the Dem will want to allow them to continue. Since not cracking down on state-regulated marijuana producers was an executive decision by the Obama admin, the results of the Presidential election will determine if they can go forward or not, regardless of what happens in Congress.

*(Cruz seems to be the only exception, Bush, Kaisch and Rubio have all said they’d crack down on States with legalization laws. So far as I can tell, Trump seems to give different answers in different places, so put him down as a maybe)

But maybe not. The general electorate is much less hostile to legalization than self-identified Republicans, so I wouldn’t be super surprised if Rubio/Bush/Kaisch/Trump were to shift their position once they locked down the nomination.

And also, its just not that important an issue to most people compared to health care, foreign policy, minimum wage, abortion, guns etc etc etc.

It almost seems like just a procedural change - do we allow it openly, or do we just keep on keepin’ on with our current distribution networks?

(Of course, don’t try telling that to the people who have been entangled in the machinery of the system over it.)

Is the legal stuff even fun? I mean, when I was a young-un half the fun was that it was illegal. :slight_smile:

Have you listened to some of these candidates? I think marijuana has played a big part already. It’s the best explanation for Ben Carson I can think of.

This is what I would say. It’s not a very important issue compared to other things.

Nitpick: Subjective case: “… whoever wins the nominations …”

Because progress is being made without the federal government’s input. Whether or not it is rescheduled or decriminalized or the status quo is maintained, state nullification has once again made federal government policy largely irrelevant in states that see a better solution.

You might think that based on the typical law and order theme but it’s not so. State’s rights is a big theme in the party, too. Opposing legalization but thinking it’s a state decision wasn’t an uncommon position in the wider field. Some support medical marijuana but not recreational. Bush even acknowledged he’d smoked marijuana in high school during the Colorado debate. Jeb inhaled. :smiley:

There’s room to debate. They already did. I assume they dropped it because none of them see an advantage in pressing the differences.

Not really. Any President could order the DEA to enforce all marijuana laws and the states can do nothing.
Remember, federal law overrides state law.

They could order it all they want. The DEA would be unable to perform this, and would likely come up against local resistance in some cases.

Remember, there are practical aspects of power and how it is used. Drug law enforcement in nullifying states would be impossible without the use of real-deal totalitarian methods.

I think most candidates want to leave it as a state by state issue. Although, I still think it can be a decent little cash calf for federal. Asking the whole country to accept regulated marijuana may be easier than something like SSM, especially if some monetary benefit can come from it.

Tell that to the “Kettle Falls Five” who got prosecuted by the Feds even in a state that has legalized both medical and recreational cannabis. The feds said that the state laws didn’t matter as it remains illegal at the federal level.


Speak for yourself. It’s the only thing that makes the debates bearable for me…

The exception that proves the rule. There is simply not enough DEA resources to shut down marijuana operations in any state that has legalized it. That’s why there has been no crackdown.

It does not matter what the Feds say, because they are not all powerful. There are practical limits to their power.

I dunno, maybe Jeb?? should have tried campaigning stoned, he probably would not have done any worse.