The first Presidential debate for the Democrat side occurred this week and the topic of marijuana came up The internet has been buzzing ever since. During the debate Bernie Sanders was asked if he would vote for marijuana legalization in Nevada if given the chance. Bernie Sanders said that he suspects he would, because essentially prohibition is a terrible thing and has ruined too many lives. The debate moderator (Anderson Cooper) then turned his attention to Hillary Clinton.
He asked if Hillary Clinton was ready to take a position on marijuana legalization yet, because in the past she has refused to. Hillary Clinton then did what she always does, and refused to take a stance on legalization, instead saying there needed to be more time and more research done before she supported legalization and fully supported medical marijuana. Her answer was clearly not as good as Bernie’s, which has been the topic of many, many articles since the debate. To be fair, she did say that she supports not putting people in prison for marijuana, but by the time she got around to that part of her marijuana policy position it fell flat and didn’t seem that genuine, at least to me.
Apparently Hillary Clinton realized that her answer was not satisfactory, because yesterday she did an interview on MSNBC where she appeared to tweak her answer a bit. She was asked how she specifically feels about Colorado proceeding forward with marijuana legalization. She had the following to say, via a YouTube video clip that the always amazing Tom Angell posted:
So when originally asked if she wanted to take a position on marijuana legalization, she refused. After the backlash she received in the media, and witnessing the praise heaped on Bernie Sanders for his answer, now she is saying almost the same thing, but with some rhetorical tweaking. I got the pleasure of hanging out with United States Representative Earl Blumenauer briefly last night, and we talked about Hillary’s change of tune. He said that in his discussions with Hillary, the answer she offered up in the MSNBC video was the stance she has told him and others behind the scenes, but for some reason during the debate it didn’t come out the way it did in the MSNBC video.
I am all for politicians evolving on marijuana policy. Just because someone was against it before or on the fence before doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be allowed to get on the right side of history. But they have to be genuine about it, and they have to get all the way on the right side of history. With Hillary I just always get the ‘stall and run out the clock’ vibe from her. She will say whatever she thinks is popular at the time, but in a way that is vague and minimizes any backtracking the in the future if she changes her mind. Saying it’s OK for a state to proceed with legalization is not nearly as strong as saying that you would vote for a state legalization initiative.
What do TWB readers think? Is Hillary’s new position on staying out of legalization’s way good enough? If you are like me, you would have felt way better about it if she would have stated that in the debate, but instead she chose to punt on the issue, claiming that there hasn’t been enough time yet. Her MSNBC video suggests that it’s not allowing time to go by that should occur, but that Colorado should be allowed to proceed unimpeded for an indefinite amount of time, and whether good or bad things happen, the feds should stay out. To me that’s a lot of political rhetoric considering just two days prior she could have said the same thing, but instead refused to take a position at all on the issue. She is seeing how popular marijuana policy reform is with the American public, and in true politician fashion, is trying to act like she has been into it for a long time. Well, at least since after the debate on Tuesday…Thoughts?