How Would a Hillary Clinton Presidency Affect the Cannabis Movement?

Published on September 2, 2015 · Last updated July 28, 2020

No matter who ends up at the podium giving speeches in preparation for the United States' 2016 presidential election, one topic that cannot be ignored, especially during this electoral debate, is cannabis.

Hillary Clinton, former senator and Secretary of State, has been approached with this hot-button issue as she travels across the country campaigning for president. During a campaign stop at the Iowa State Fair last month, Clinton was interacting with everyday Iowans when a mother named April Stumpf approached her. Stumpf’s three year-old daughter, Quinn, suffers from a severe form of epilepsy that is resistant to treatment. Doctors recommended medicinal cannabis, which is illegal in Iowa unless it is obtained in a legal state and illegally trafficked back.

The mother's voice broke as she spoke about her daughter, who is unable to travel, saying, “She’s not expected to live past…I mean, she could go at any time.”

Clinton’s response was appropriate, albeit underwhelming. She agreed that there needs to be more research on the topic (which is absolutely true), and sent her staff to collect Stumpf’s contact information.

Thus far, Hillary Clinton is the top contender for the Democratic nomination (although, despite her best Iowa fair efforts, Bernie Sanders is gaining momentum in the Iowa polls). For cannabis proponents, however, Clinton is looking less and less like the candidate of choice. She remains mum on whether she supports legalization, sticking to the call for more research and evidence:

"I don't think we've done enough research yet. Although I think for people who are in extreme medical conditions and have anecdotal evidence that it works, there should be availability under appropriate circumstances. But I do think we need more research, because we don't know how it interacts with other drugs. There's a lot we don't know."

Yes, but there’s also plenty that we do know. How about that cannabis has been shown to kill cancer cells? Or that cannabis has proven to be a safe and effective substitute for opiates in treating pain? Or what about cannabis consumption having no long-term negative effects on lung health?

How about the fact that there are more clinical studies on cannabis than there are on most legal medications already approved by the Food and Drug Administration?

These questions will continue to plague Clinton's campaign and, try as she might, Hillary can’t outrun the advocates, the positive statistics, and the overwhelming voice of support for cannabis that will continue to grow as we near the 2016 election.

My recommendation for Hillary Clinton? Follow the facts, don’t ignore the evidence that’s already available, and always, always, always #JustSayKnow

Who's got your vote? Catch up on more 2016 presidential election coverage and educate yourself on the candidates:

What Do the 2016 Presidential Candidates Think About Cannabis?

Bernie Sanders Wants to End the War on Drugs: Could He Pull It Off as the Next President?

What Would a Trump Presidency Mean for Cannabis?

photo credit: "Greening Diplomacy" Earth Day Event via photopin(license)

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Lisa Rough
Lisa Rough
Lisa is a former associate editor at Leafly, where she specialized in legislative cannabis policy and industry topics.
View Lisa Rough's articles
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