If you’re following the upcoming 2016 presidential campaign, you already know there are 23 candidates taking a run at the office. Seventeen of the candidates are republican and there is much anticipation for this Thursday’s GOP primary debate.
Just tonight, FOX News announced who made the cut to participate in the debate, a decision based on an average of the five most recent national polls. The participants are: Donald Trump, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and Ohio Governor John Kasich.
Not only will this debate begin to sift out where each candidate stands and how elegantly they convey their positions, it could be very entertaining. No one but the moderators (Chris Wallace, Bret Baier, and Megyn Kelly) knows the questions to be asked at the debate, but there’s been much speculation about the topics that could be discussed.
Donald Trump has already made it clear he wants to talk about immigration and the Iran deal, Obamacare, and Planned Parenthood will most likely be on the agenda. Washington Post columnist Katrina vanden Heuvel suggested that the debate cover inequality and stagnant wages, trade strategy, America’s infrastructure, fair taxes, student debt, climate change, incarceration and police brutality, campaign finance, and the potential conflict between the U.S. and Russia.
These are all great topics. But from our perspective another topic that’s sure to make the list is legalizing marijuana. It’s been a topic both Republican and Democratic candidates have touched on in the past months.
Recently, the Marijuana Policy Project released a presidential candidate report card for all 23 candidates and graded them based on their support for marijuana policy reform or willingness to allow it to move forward. Of the 10 GOP candidates about to debate, here’s how they scored:
Donald Trump – Businessman Donald Trump favored legalizing all drugs in 1990, but has recently said he opposes legalizing and regulating adult use marijuana. He does support legal access to medical cannabis and would likely support states setting their own marijuana policies. “C”
Ben Carson – A neurosurgeon, Dr. Carson has expressed some support for medicinal marijuana use, but has been highly critical of legalizing and regulating cannabis for adult use, citing the gateway drug theory as his reason. “D”
Rand Paul – The Kentucky Senator has always supported states’ rights to establish their own marijuana policies. He also supports decriminalizing or reducing criminal penalties for those arrested for marijuana possession. Paul is also a sponsor of the CARERS Act, a bipartisan bill that would allow states to set their own policies without interference from the federal government and the co-sponsor of a bill that would allow marijuana-related businesses to access the banking system. “A-“
John Kasich – The Ohio Governor totally opposes marijuana legalization, including for medicinal purposes. He has stated that states should probably have the right to establish their own policies. “C-“
Will you be watching Thursday evening? How will you score the candidates?
Learn more about all of the 2016 presidential candidates and their positions on marijuana reform at the Marijuana Policy Project website.
Photos of candidates from the Marijuana Policy Project Website.