Missed Opportunity – Marijuana Reform Absent From Presidential Debate

presidential debate marijuana

Last night was the first of three presidential debates between Republican candidate Donald Trump and Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton. For those of you that held your nose and powered through it, I tip my hat to you. I was over at my grandma’s last night watching the debate, and my opinion was that Trump lost the debate, and by a wide margin. That’s not to say that Hillary Clinton did an amazing job, so much as Donald Trump just put his foot in his mouth repeatedly (proud to not pay any taxes???) and was obviously unprepared for the debate.

The debate covered three areas – ‘America’s Direction, Achieving Prosperity and Securing America.’ One would think that those three topic areas would be ripe for some marijuana reform discussion. The emerging marijuana industry is helping the economy as we speak, and if federal prohibition were ended, the industry would flourish. Can the candidates name one other industry that can basically be created out of nowhere that has the ability do do as much for America’s economy as the marijuana industry? Obviously I will never be able to ask them that question, but I would expect to hear the sound of crickets if it were to happen.

There was one particular segment of the debate in which the candidates were asked what they would do to heal the racial divide in America. I thought for sure that the War on Drugs would be brought up, as it is contributing to so many race-based issues in America, if not the root cause of most of them. Hillary Clinton talked about the need to end systemic racism in America. That led to me tweeting that systemic racism cannot be eliminated without ending the War on Drugs. There’s simply no way around it.

But at least Hillary Clinton went down the path of talking about systemic racism in America. Donald Trump used the opportunity to make some statements that should scare any believer in freedom and justice in America. Donald Trump literally argued that stop and frisk needs to happen everywhere. Mr. Trump stated that murders in New York went down dramatically when stop and frisk was the policy there. What he didn’t touch on was the problems that stop and frisk led to among minority communities. He also failed to mention that the practice was deemed unconstitutional.

Trump stated many times that America needed to bring back ‘law and order.’ While he didn’t elaborate on what that exactly meant, I think it’s safe to say that Donald Trump’s solution to healing racial divides in this country involves ‘policing our way out of it.’ That of course would just make the problem worse. All in all, the debate was a train wreck, one that for some reason I couldn’t look away from. It was extremely disappointing to not hear marijuana reform discussed even one time during the debate, but not surprising. Will we see marijuana reform brought up in the next debates? I would lean towards no, but will continue to hope, as it’s an issue that is important to many Americans.

image via ABC, via my grandma’s television

Johnny Green
About Johnny Green 2494 Articles
Johnny Green is a cannabis activist from Oregon. Johnny has a bachelor's degree in public policy, and believes that the message should always be more important than the messenger. #LegalizeIt #FreeThePlant