Though she says she never smoked pot during her undergrad years at Wellesley ("I didn't do it when I was young, I'm not going to start now"), Hillary Clinton is gradually coming around on cannabis. Up until the last few months, the front-running presidential candidate had been lukewarm in her support of marijuana legalization and medical marijuana.
At a Town Hall in Orangesburg, SC on Nov. 6, Clinton stated:
"What I do want is for us to support research into medical marijuana because a lot more states have passed medical marijuana than have legalized marijuana, so we have got two different experiences or even experiments going on right now. The problem with medical marijuana is there is a lot of anecdotal evidence about how well it works for certain conditions. But we haven't done any research. Why? Because it is considered what is called a Schedule I drug and you can't even do research in it."
'I would like to move it from what is called Schedule I to Schedule II so that researchers at universities, national institutes of health can start researching what is the best way to use it, how much of a dose does somebody need, how does it interact with other medications.'
Her main opponent, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, goes a step further, calling for marijuana to be removed entirely (descheduled) from the Controilled Substances Act.
At the Democratic presidential candidates' debate on Oct 13, Clinton said she opposes legalizing marijuana, but added: "We have the opportunity throughout states that are pursuing recreational marijuana to find out a lot more than we know today. I do support the use of medical marijuana. Even there I think we ned to do a lot more research so we know exactly how we can help people for who medical marijuana provides relief. But I believe completely that we've got to stop imprisoning people who use marijuana. Therefore, we need more states, cities and the federal government to begin to address this so that we this terrible result that Sen. Sanders was talking about where we have huge population in our prisons for non-violent low-level offenses that are primarily die to marijuana."
Asked an audience question about marijuana during her Town Hall meeting with CNN's Christiane Amanpour in June 2014 (see clip below), Clinton stated about legalization in Colorado and Washington:
'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.'
And on medical marijuana: "I think we need to be very clear on the benefits of marijuana use for medicinal purposes. 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 that we don't know."
Clinton announced her candidacy on Apr. 12. Her husband Bill Clinton infamously stated in 1992 that he tried marijuana while studying at Oxford in England, but didn't inhale the smoke.