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If a Republican candidate wants to win the 2016 presidential election, they may want to change their opinion on legal marijuana.
Republican voters in Iowa and New Hampshire overwhelmingly support the belief that states should be able to carry out their own marijuana laws without federal interference. In Iowa, 64% of GOP voters said that states should be able to set their own marijuana laws. In New Hampshire, 67% of GOP voters said that the feds should stay out.
The survey was conducted by Public Policy Polling after GOP candidates, such as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Florida Senator Marco Rubio stepped up their anti-marijuana rhetoric in recent weeks.
Two Republican candidates come out against marijuana
Governor Christie is one of the loudest voices against marijuana and is doing whatever it takes to stay in the running for the Republican nomination (which will not happen).
In a New Hampshire town hall meeting in late July, Christie said, “If you're getting high in Colorado today, enjoy it until Jan. 17 of 2017, because I will enforce the federal laws against marijuana as president of the United States.”
A few months ago, Governor Christie said the tax revenue generated from marijuana is blood money. Christie, however, spent $82,594 of taxpayers’ money at MetLife Stadium concession stands during the 2010 and 2011 football seasons
Christie said, “To me, that’s blood money. I’m not going to put the lives of children and citizens at risk to put a little more money into the state coffers, at least not on my watch.”
Many people believed that Marco Rubio would be in favor of allowing states to make their own decisions regarding marijuana. Rubio, however, has also said that his own family was hurt by the drug business when his brother-in-law was arrested and sent to prison. Rubio said that there is no responsible way to use marijuana (recreationally) and he thinks that legalization would be bad for the country.
In May, Senator Rubio told ABC News, “Marijuana is illegal under federal law. That should be enforced.”
Where do the Democratic candidates stand?
Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders has indicated that he plans to discuss the marijuana topic in the near future and his stance could set him apart from rival Hillary Clinton. Marijuana reform advocates hope that the Vermont senator will introduce a platform that fully supports recreational marijuana.
Hillary Clinton had expressed her opinion on marijuana at a CNN town hall meeting in June 2014. When asked about the idea of legalizing marijuana nationally, she said:
"On recreational [use], you know, states are the laboratories of democracy. We have at least two states that are experimenting with that right now. I want to wait and see what the evidence is."
When Clinton was asked about medical marijuana she said, "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."