Article by Sean Williams, The Motley Fool
In less than three months’ time, tens of millions of American voters will head to the polls to decide who will become the 45th president of the United States of America. Who their selection will be remains a mystery.
Marijuana is breaking barriers this election cycle
However, the candidates aren’t the only thing voters are interested in this election cycle; they want to hear about the topics, too. For the first time ever, marijuana is taking center stage as a major issue. According to Gallup’s 2015 national poll, 58% of respondents support the nationwide legalization of marijuana, up from around 33% just a decade ago. A similar poll conducted by CBS News last year showed that 84% of American favored the legalization of cannabis for medical purposes.
Americans, as a whole, are eager to see Capitol Hill change its stance on marijuana. Capitol Hill, however, isn’t as excited. In fact, earlier this month the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency released a report detailing why it would not change marijuana from its current schedule 1 status. Schedule 1 drugs are deemed to have no medical benefits and are thus illegal. In its report, the DEA cited the potential for abuse and the still-unknown properties and risks of marijuana as its reasoning for not changing marijuana’s long-standing schedule 1 classification.
Clinton throws her support behind rescheduling cannabis
But if Hillary Clinton is elected as the next president, changes may be coming to the cannabis industry. Based on statements from Clinton and her campaign, Clinton plans to see that marijuana is rescheduled to a schedule 2 drug if she is elected, effectively recognizing that marijuana has medical benefits and opening the door for researchers and drugmakers to research cannabis for medical ailments. Clinton has pointed to the success of individual states managing their own marijuana industries, along with those states’ potential as “laboratories of democracy” to gauge whether further federal action should be taken down the road.
Because Clinton has laid out a well thought out approach on marijuana — even if it is vastly different from her views eight year ago when she originally ran for the Oval Office — it could net the Democratic candidate quite a few voters who favor legalization. Don’t forget that rescheduling cannabis to schedule 2 would immediately allow doctors across the country to prescribe the drug for approved ailments.
Yet the irony is that Clinton’s push to reschedule cannabis could actually wind up backfiring on the industry.