Hillary Clinton’s New Position On MariJuana Was Not Heralded By All Marijuana Activists

Hillary Clinton’s new position on marijuana was not heralded by all marijuana activists. This took place during a town hall in south Carolina on Saturday, when Hillary addressed a large African-American audience that she would like to reschedule the drug in order to spur research.

“What I do want is for us to support research into medical marijuana because a lot more states have passed medical marijuana than have legalized marijuana, so we have got two different experiences or even experiments going on right now,” Clinton said. “The problem with medical marijuana is there is a lot of anecdotal evidence about how well it works for certain conditions. But we haven’t done any research. Why? Because it is considered that is called a schedule one drug and you can’t even do research in it.”

She added, “I would like to move it from what is called Schedule 1 to Schedule 2 so that researchers at universities, national institutes of health can start researching what is the best way to use it, how much of a dose does somebody need, how does it interact with other medications.”

This is entirely a new position for Hillary, who in the past has said she wanted to spur research, but has never endorsed reclassifying the drug.

Marijuana is currently categorized by the Drug Enforcement Administration as a Schedule 1 drug, the highest categorization for drugs “with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”

Rescheduling the drug would open up the possibility of more research into marijuana and the way it interacts with other substances.

Clinton did not endorse legalizing marijuana on Saturday, instead saying she wanted to “see how it works” in states like Colorado and Washington that have legalized the drug “before we do a national plan from the federal government. Because I think there is a lot for us to learn.”

Clinton was Asked during the CNN debate in October whether she will legalize the drug, and she said no.

Hillary Clinton at the presidential debate on October 13, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. [Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images/2015 Getty Images]
According to NPR, Hillary Clinton is the last Presidential candidate to embrace this change for marijuana.

Majority of marijuana activist are not really happy her new position because in their opinion, Clinton does not address the major issues. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced a bill last week to end the federal ban on marijuana and said Hillary’s position didn’t go far.

“I am glad to see Secretary Clinton is beginning to address an issue that my legislation addressed,” Sanders said in a statement, “but her approach ignored the major issue.” Secretary Clinton would classify marijuana in the same category as cocaine and continue to make marijuana a federally regulated substance.

Sanders argued that if we were serious about criminal justice reform and preventing many thousands of lives from being impacted because of criminal convictions for marijuana possession, marijuana should be removed from the federal controlled Substance Act and allow states the right to go forward, if they choose, to legalize marijuana without federal legal impediment.

Bernie Sanders speaks in Virginia. [Alex Wong/Getty]
Clinton’s subtle announcement was not heralded by all marijuana activists.

According to Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority, “The rescheduling of marijuana is a step in the right direction, but only going down to Schedule 2 is mostly a symbolic move. It may make research slightly easier, but on its own wouldn’t do anything to protect seriously ill people who are using marijuana in accordance with state laws from being harassed by the DEA. Only changing the federal criminal statutes can effectively do that.”

Angell was also hopeful it was “only a matter of time before (Clinton) officially adds her voice in support of legislation that would” change federal criminal statutes.

[Image courtesy Scott Olson via Getty Images]