GOP 2016 Contenders Push To Decriminalize Marijuana
This isn’t so much about legalization, but decriminalization
(Washington Times) Republicans eyeing the White House in 2016 are pushing their party to change its stance and accept a softening of federal marijuana laws – a dramatic shift from the GOP’s most recent contenders who railed against the drug and questioned its medicinal value.
Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky has arguably been the most vocal on the subject, saying the federal government should leave the issue entirely to the states. Texas Gov. Rick Perry also argues that marijuana’s legal status should be a state issue, and he points to drug courts in his state that he said have helped move Texas toward decriminalization.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, meanwhile, has vowed to scrap the “failed war on drugs” altogether – more than four decades after President Nixon, a Republican, set it into motion by naming drug abuse as “public enemy No. 1 in the United States.”
Paul’s stance is no surprise, being more of a Libertarian, and certainly understanding the Constitution regarding State’s rights. Perry is a little bit more surprising, what with his “compassionate conservative” and social conservative leanings, though his is also a big State’s Rights guy. Christie, there is no surprise, he is for all intense purposes a Democrat, or at least an old-school Democrat. Much of his opposition to the criminalization of pot is due to having to incarcerate and waste time on pot offenses.
Perry, it should be noted, is not in favor of legalization, but understands that it is his job to look towards policies that reduce the load on the criminal courts.
Will this be a big issue during 2016? Doubtful. But, it would set up an interesting issue if either Paul or Perry won the White House. Both of them are big law and order guys. Pot is considered a Schedule I drug at the federal level. Would they work to get it removed from that classification, or simply ignore what the States are doing?
This could be an interesting issue to soft-pedal to the younger crowd.
For a couple election cycles, Republicans have clearly believed “the more moderate the better”. The result has been that the
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