During the CNN Republican Presidential Debate aired Wednesday, September 16, the issue of marijuana law reform was debated among the participating candidates.
The subject of marijuana was described by debate host Jake Tapper as, "One of the hottest questions" taken by CNN through their social media outlets.
Between jabs at each other (Donald Trump cast doubt on Rand Paul's appearance and his presence in the debate) and at the front-running Democrat in the Presidential race, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (who was blamed for everything evil in the world except Trump's wig), the candidates opined on legalized marijuana, the 10th Amendment and Jeb Bush's momma.
Sen. Rand Paul (R- Kentucky) opened the debate on the subject with, "What the American people don't like about politics is the hypocrisy." He cited as an example Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida's admission that he himself smoked marijuana as a youth and now campaigns against cannabis.
Bush, the son and brother of two former Presidents, defended his position on the marijuana issue by saying, "40 years ago I smoked marijuana... I am sure that other people might have done it," he said, looking at the dozen fellow Republicans on the stage, "and may not want to say it in front of 25 million people. My mom's not happy that I just did."
Sen. Paul used disparate punishments based on race or financial ability as another example of the hypocrisy of the drug war. "The people that are going to jail for this are the poor people, often African-Americans, often Hispanics- and yet the rich kids who use drugs, aren't."
"I personally think that this is a crime in which the only victim is the individual, and I think America has to take a different attitude."
Constitutionally, the issue of marijuana legalization opened up a debate about states rights vs. federal control.
Gov. Huckabee supported the 10th Amendment when in reference to screening potential Supreme Court Justice nominees and in issues where federal and state jurisdictions are defined. "Every Governor on this stage... every one of us; our biggest fight wasn't always with the legislature or even with the Democrats- my gosh, half the time it was with the federal government."
"If it's not reserved, in the Constitution, then the 10th Amendment said it's left for the states."
Senator Paul noted the contradiction in application of the Amendment based on the subject matter. "We say we like the 10th Amendment, until we start talking about " marijuana legalization, Paul noted. "The federal government has gone too far."
"I don't think the federal government should override the states. I believe in the 10th Amendment and I really will see that the states are left to themselves."
Gov. Bush seemed to agree. "What goes on in Colorado, that should be a state decision," he said, referencing the nation's most advanced marijuana legalization program.
Taking the opposite approach, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey agreed with the stated summary of his position as follows: "If you are getting high in Colorado today... enjoy it until January of 2017, because I will enforce the federal laws against marijuana."
Sen. Paul caught Christie in a major contradiction when the Governor said medical marijuana programs would be intact under his leadership, as he would only target adult use of marijuana in states where it is legal. Paul insisted that the federal laws Christie would use to halt recreational use are the same ones used to halt medical use in states where it is authorized.
Business Executive and potential candidate Carly Fiorina revealed that she and her husband had lost one of their children to drug abuse. "We are misleading young people when we tell them that marijuana is just like having a beer. And the marijuana that kids are smoking today is not the same as the marijuana Jeb Bush smoked 40 years ago."
All of the Republican Presidential candidates who spoke on the issue advocated for a greater use of rehabilitation and treatment networks to handle the perceived problems of marijuana/drug use.
Michigan's next big marijuana conference is a few short days away! Join Rick Thompson for the Michigan Cannabis Business Development Conference on September 26 at the Holiday Inn Gateway Centre. Marijuana Case Law Update, Legislative Review, so many other topics! 9 Seminars in all.
Source: The Compassion Chronicles