Hillary Clinton has officially adjusted her views on marijuana at a town hall meeting held the Claflin University campus in South Carolina. During her conversation with the public, Clinton called for a federal rescheduling of the drug, and even hinted at the possibility of recreational legalization over time. If she is elected and her proposals go into effect, the United States will have another president in favor of marijuana reform.
Although many states have already passed medical marijuana, or have even legalized the drug outright, marijuana is currently classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic under federal law, meaning that it is not recognized by the DEA to have any medical benefits. As such, the federal government cannot legally conduct any experiments on marijuana to evaluate its medical potential. If elected president, however, Hillary Clinton vows to permit federal experimentation by pushing to reclassify marijuana as a Schedule 2 drug.
As a Schedule 2 drug, marijuana would still remain illegal, but would no longer be in the same category as heroin and cocaine, and the legal penalties for possession of marijuana would be greatly reduced. As far as legalizing recreational marijuana use, however, Hillary said at the meeting that she would like to wait and see how states like Colorado are effected before making an official policy. This goes in stark contrast with her stance on marijuana as recently as 2014, when she labeled the plant “a gateway drug” in need of strict law enforcement.
Proponents of medical marijuana fear that this these measures will not be enough to keep the blossoming industry afloat after this upcoming election. They worry that if Hillary becomes president, she may may still allow the DEA to harass medical marijuana users that are obeying state laws. To prevent this, critics want to see the laws completely changed as opposed leaving medical marijuana up to the whims of official administrative policy.
Hillary, however, is still reluctant to make any sweeping legal changes. While she is not opposed to medical marijuana, she wants to first create strict federal guidelines that determine a recommended dosage, control the quality, and identify any possible contraindications with other medicines. Federal research, she argues, will solve these unknowns.
Even though Hillary Clinton is hesitant to legalize marijuana, her policies may make her the first president to allow federal research on marijuana to commence. If government testing yields positive results, the United States may be closer to federal regulation of medical marijuana than ever before.
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