For those who see access to medical cannabis as an important issue, choosing the presidential candidate most likely to expand access and recognize medical cannabis as a valid treatment, or at least a plant worthy of further research, would be an important factor. If you’re on the fence between Hillary and Donald, this just might be the decisive issue for you.
Motherboard has investigated the two candidates’ stance on medical cannabis in detail, and gave them each a “grade”. According to the analysts, Clinton scored a B, while Trump scored a C.
Why the difference in medical cannabis acceptance scores between Trump and Clinton?
While Trump has only alluded to medical and recreational cannabis in interviews, Clinton has clearly and unambiguously detailed her plans for medical cannabis on her campaign website. Both candidates are theoretically in favor of medical cannabis, but Politifact, an organization that rates the truthfulness of public figures, has rated Trump as a world-class liar, even giving him the dubious honor of a 2015 award for the biggest whopper.
The Politifact website rates only 4% of Trump’s statements as being “true”, while a further 25% are rated as “mostly true” and “half true”. All we have from Trump so far is a vague statement that “medical is good”, and although both candidates have said that states should be allowed to decide the medical and recreational status of cannabis for themselves, at least Clinton has done so in writing.
- Rescheduling and state freedoms
In addition, Clinton has clearly stated that cannabis should be rescheduled, while Trump has not commented on the matter. Clinton says she would like to see research into the medicinal value of cannabis being facilitated, and rescheduling would certainly make life easier for researchers who hope to do just that.
Some are concerned that rescheduling, rather than improving access to medical cannabis, would make it more difficult, as doctors would have to follow stringent prescription parameters as they do with opioids. However, Clinton’s commitment to allow states to determine their own policy should overcome this. Furthermore, patients would be able to claim their medical cannabis costs from their medical insurance schemes, and cannabis businesses would be able to reduce security concerns by getting broader access to banking.
- Criminal Justice
Clinton’s website says that she wants to reduce the overall prison population by reducing incarceration of those guilty of non-violent crimes. She sees a softer approach to cannabis possession cases as part of the solution. Trump, on the other hand, is rather harder to pin down. He is on record as saying that ending the war on drugs would be a good move. He is also cites prevention of drug imports (including cannabis) as part of his reasoning behind the fabled wall between Mexico and the US that forms an important part of his campaign.
For those in non-medical cannabis states who nevertheless hope that the herb will live up to its reputation as a curative for a number of conditions, reducing penalties would certainly reduce risk. However, if Clinton is able to get cannabis rescheduled, getting a prescription will presumably be possible, even if you do live in a state that opposes recreational use.
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Clinton seems to be the strongest choice for medical cannabis advocates
Although Clinton and Trump seem to share the opinion that medical cannabis can be beneficial, Clinton has been much clearer on her strategies and policies. She may not have a completely clean reputation for truthfulness (Politifact rates 51% of her utterances as either “true” or “mostly true”), but she is the more experienced politician and legislator of the two presidential candidates.