Election 2016: Will Clinton Legalize Marijuana?

Note: This is not an endorsement of Hillary Clinton. InstantGMP™ will be reporting on various aspects of the Presidential candidates’ platforms and their potential impact.

By Kelly L. Waters, Marketing Manager (Ms. Waters does not endorse Clinton, she’s just the author)

In an earlier blog entry, we went in depth about how Trump and his running-mate Gov. Pence feel about the legalization and utilization of medical marijuana. Today, we’ll explore Clinton and Sen. Tim Kaine’s platform on cannabis.

Traditionally, Democrats have embraced legislation decriminalizing or legalizing marijuana. In a recent Washington Post article, David Welgel reports that the Democratic Party endorsed a platform directive to create a pathway to future legalization. Democrats want to see the drug downgraded from a Schedule I substance to something much more flexible or removed entirely from the Controlled Substances Act.

Given that Hillary Clinton is the Democratic Presidential nominee, it’s no surprise that she is in favor of legalizing marijuana (for recreational and medical purposes) but will leave the choice up to the states. She will not create any sweeping federal policies regarding legalization of cannabis and is eager to see what researchers will offer up in future studies. She is on-board with re-scheduling the drug if elected to make it easier for clinical access.

As previously mentioned, Clinton has made it a major point of her platform to address the skyrocketing cost of prescriptions and issues in health care. She views medical marijuana as an alternative but wants to see more studies regarding the benefits of medical marijuana versus traditional prescription or surgical treatments for chronic conditions.

It has taken time for Clinton to come around to embracing marijuana. In her early years she was a Republican during the Flower Power era and even wrote in her 1996 book that it’s been a slow evolution. It’s not an uncommon viewpoint from her generation. The mantra going into the 21st century was that marijuana is a gateway to harder drugs. This has been disproved, but there still remains mild trepidation.

Since 2007, however, Clinton has starkly changed her viewpoint regarding cannabis and how it relates to nonviolent drug offenses. She pandered to Howard University that her drug policy would differentiate between low-level and nonviolent offenses versus much more severe crimes. Later that year she was quoted as expressing her support with medical application research.

Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) is a man with similar evolving beliefs. In 2014, he expressed his opinion regarding the subject: he’s not so sure legalizing it would have any impact health or crime. Unlike Mike Pence, he is in favor of reducing sentences and encouraging reform for marijuana-related offenders. Cannabis offenses are low-level and often are nonviolent crimes that should be considered differently from a sentencing standpoint.

He is also in favor of watching the states handle legalization without federal intervention.

The 2016 Election is an election of moderate views from both of the major parties. Trump and Clinton fully embrace the benefits of medical marijuana and are all about recognizing states’ rights in regards to drug decriminalization and legalization. Neither candidate feels the need to take an absolute stance, neither wish to issue federal laws, and both are excited to see what research holds but recognize marijuana’s viability as a treatment alternative. Simply put, let’s get marijuana in the hands of researchers and watch how the states handle everything.

Here at InstantGMP™, we support the research and innovation of cannabis products. Dr. Rick Soltero designed a cloud-based Electronic Batch Record software while working in Pharmaceutical R&D in an effort to simplify regulations, improve their production process and make manufacturing with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) more accessible to small and medium-sized companies. InstantGMP™ offers a holistic catalog of software packages for different industries, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), and Process Consulting.