Hillary Clinton Comes Out In Favor Of Medical Marijuana

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During a town hall meeting in South Carolina on Saturday, Hillary Clinton proposed reclassifying marijuana as a less dangerous drug in order to make it easier to conduct research on the effects of medical marijuana, reports CNN. "A lot more states have passed medical marijuana than have legalized marijuana, so we've got two different experiences or even experiments going on right now," Clinton told the crowd. "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 that is called a schedule one drug and you can't even do research in it." The presidential hopeful then called for a lessening of federal regulation on marijuana, saying that she "would like to move it from what is called Schedule 1 to Schedule 2 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." Categorized by the Drug Enforcement Administration as a Schedule 1 drug (the highest — no pun intended — categorization for drugs with "with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse"), marijuana is currently classified alongside such substances as heroin — something fellow Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has already called out as "absurd." In fact, Sanders is behind the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act. He declared his intention to reform marijuana classification last month in Vermont and introduced it to the Senate floor this past Wednesday. "In my view, the time is long overdue for us to remove the federal prohibition on marijuana," he said at a town hall last week, taking the position that "...states should have the right to regulate marijuana the same way that state and local laws now govern sales of alcohol and tobacco." Clinton's suggestion of reclassifying marijuana as a Schedule 2 drug would open the door for more legal research into the substance, but by no means legalizes the drug. (Schedule 2 drugs are defined as "drugs with a high potential for abuse, less abuse potential than Schedule 1 drugs, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence," and include cocaine, hydrocodone, Adderall, and Ritalin, among others.) While Clinton did not endorse legalizing marijuana on Saturday, saying instead that she wanted to "see how it works" in states like Colorado and Washington, which have legalized the drug, "before we do a national plan from the federal government," her call for decriminalization is still a noteworthy step outside the political mainstream. Though pot use has more than doubled in the United States in the past 12 years, Clinton's reclassification proposal comes at a time when many still denounce the use of medicinal marijuana at all. Chuck Rosenberg, head of the Drug Enforcement Administration, even recently said in a briefing that "what really bothers me is the notion that marijuana is also medicinal — because it's not" — despite studies from the American Medical Association directly stating otherwise. Which may be why some, like Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority, told CNN that he was hopeful it was "only a matter of time before [Clinton] officially adds her voice in support of legislation that would" change federal criminal statutes. And because hey, Mexico's doing it.

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