Hillary Clinton’s campaign has posted “133 reasons (and counting!) Hillary Clinton should be our next president” on HillaryClinton.com and a couple of the reasons on the list pertain to the cannabis community and greater Drug War reform activists. The presidential election could very well tighten up as we head to November 8th and Secretary Clinton would be wise to tout her criminal justice reforms or, better yet, announce even more progressive positions.
While Clinton lagged behind Democratic rival Bernie Sanders in calling for an end to private prisons, it is very good to see that “It’s time to end for-profit private prisons in America,” come in at number 60 on her campaign’s list. Following Sanders’ call to end private prisons in America, Clinton took heat for accepting contributions from private prisons. Clinton responded by donating private prison contributions to charity and private prison stocks dropped upon her announcement that she too opposed the for-profit prison industry.
Hillary Clinton has not embraced cannabis legalization as a majority of her party, and our nation, have, but she has certainly improved since opposing decriminalization in 2008. Today, Clinton has called for a states’ rights position on cannabis policy (as has Republican Donald Trump) and number 100 on her list states: ”She believes we should use alternatives to incarceration for low-level, nonviolent marijuana users, and she will reschedule marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule II substance.”
Many cannabis law reformers, myself definitely included, rallied behind Bernie Sanders call to end federal prohibition by removing cannabis from the list of controlled substances altogether and rescheduling to Schedule II is rather controversial in some activists circles, as it may come with some risks. If a Clinton Administration does indeed reschedule cannabis, it will be imperative that states are allowed to maintain their medical and recreational systems as a federal-only medical system could prove disastrous.
It is a sign of our movement’s strength that Clinton has “evolved” on decriminalization and that both major candidates believe that states should be allowed to have their own cannabis policies. Hillary Clinton seemed to be coasting to an electoral victory over Donald Trump for the presidency until FBI Director James Comey strangely reignited the controversy surrounding Clinton’s private email server just 11 days before election day. If Hillary Clinton really wanted to mobilize her base, and put the focus on a policy that she will enact, instead of past emails, joining Bernie Sanders in calling for the de-scheduling of cannabis could prove to be a game changer. A boy can dream, right?