Usually Presidential candidates announce running mates after clinching their party’s nomination. According to the L.A. Times, Ted Cruz is expected to name Carly Fiorina as his would-be vice president later this afternoon, an effort to gain political momentum in his battle against Donald Trump for the Republican nomination.
What would Vice President Fiorina mean for cannabis? Nothing good.
Fiorina has, like every Republican candidate still in the race, paid lip service to states that have chosen to legalize medical or adult-use cannabis. But she’s also been among the most outspoken in her personal condemnation of the plant and its use.
“I don’t support legalized marijuana for a whole host of reasons, including the fact that this is a very complex chemical substance,” she said late last year.
“But I think Colorado voters made a choice,” she continued. “I don’t support their choice, but I do support their right to make that choice.”
It’s an open question whether she would continue to hold to that opinion once in office.
In past campaigns, Fiorina has opposed both cannabis and the potential tax revenue from legal cannabis. Years ago, when California’s budget was a mess, the state had the chance to legalize and tax adult-use consumption. Fiorina opposed the idea.
“Sending billions of dollars in new tax revenues to Sacramento is exactly the problem,” she said, “because Sacramento has a spending problem and will continue to spend the money we send them.”
When Fiorina does get something right about cannabis, it’s usually by accident: “We are misleading young people when we tell them that marijuana is just like having a beer. It’s not,” she said in September. Science backs up that statement, but not in the way she meant.
Fiorina’s opposition to legal, regulated cannabis comes from losing a daughter to substance abuse. “My husband and I buried a child to drug addiction,” she said at a Republican debate last year. “We must invest in the treatment of drugs.”
It’s a terrible, heartbreaking story — but there’s a bit of a catch. According to Fiorina’s autobiography, her daughter Lori died in 2009 after “drinking too much in college” and abusing prescription drugs.
As cannabis advocate Russ Belville put it in a column addressed to Fiorina, “You are misleading young people, ma’am, when you equate your step-daughter’s death from highly addictive substances and mental illness to an herb that is incapable of producing fatal overdose, even in the tiny minority of its consumers who develop psychological dependence on it.”
The sad fact is, none of the candidates with a strong chance at making it to the White House is likely to be a friend to cannabis. But Fiorina would be one of the worst.