Presidential candidates are suddenly talking very openly about marijuana.
In an unprecedented move White House hopefuls from all over party lines are accepting donations from people in the marijuana industry. As Rand Paul demonstrated by having a closed-door event at the Narional Cannabis Industry Association’s business summit and expo. The cost of entry to his private closed-door event? Only $2,700! These candidates definitely want a piece of the medicated pie.
A slim majority of Americans, 53 percent, said in a Pew Research Center survey in March that the drug should be legal. As recently as 2006, less than a third supported marijuana legalization in another measure of public opinion, the General Social Survey.
Some republicans like democrats, are saying they won’t interfere with states that are legalizing a plant still considered illegal by federal law.
Politicians are shifting, but slowly. Rand Paul is only in support of changing federal drug sentencing laws, stopping a long way from full legalization. A few other republicans have said they support the state’s right to choose, but for those of us living in states where medical marijuana is still illegal the choice seems to be: Die Legally or be Illegally Healed.
Bernie Sanders has the strongest support from the democratic side, which still is only support of decriminalization. A big step to be sure, and more than any other candidate is offering but still slower than what the patients suffering need!
Marijuana entrepreneurs say even tepid support for legalization is a step forward, and they’re opening their wallets in hopes of seeing more change.
The largest marijuana lobbying group, Marijuana Policy Project, plans to donate tens of thousands to 2016 presidential candidates. Executive Director Rob Kampia was among those at the Denver pot fundraiser for Rand Paul.
“We wouldn’t have heard a presidential candidate talking that way four years ago,” Kampia said. Attendees said Paul talked about changing federal drug-sentencing laws but stopped short of calling for nationwide legalization.