Source: Benzinga By Laura Brodbeck April 07 2015
As candidates prepare for the 2016 presidential race, many are beginning to wonder just how important their stance on marijuana reform will be.
The issue has proven to be a hot button across the nation as more and more states legalize the drug for medical and recreational use.
So far, many of the potential candidates have kept quiet about marijuana decriminalization, but a poll out this week shows that marijuana could be a deciding factor in next year’s race.
Swing States Want Reform
On Monday, Quinnipiac released data showing that voters in some very influential swing states are in support of legalizing marijuana.
The survey showed that 84 percent of Florida’s voters, 84 percent of Ohio’s voters and 88 percent of Pennsylvania’s voters believe that medical marijuana should be made legal.
A slimmer majority in those states also believe the drug should be legal for recreational use as well.
While several U.S. states have already made medical marijuana legal, the federal government still classifies cannabis as a Schedule I drug, meaning it has no medical uses.
So far, policymakers in Washington have been reluctant to change the rules, but those in support of marijuana reform say it is essential to move the industry forward.
Reclassifying marijuana in the eyes of the federal government would make it easier for drug companies to test the effects of cannabis and allow marijuana-based businesses more flexibility in obtaining business loans and engaging with banks.
Marijuana A Hot Topic
With the campaign approaching, marijuana hasn’t been at the forefront of most potential candidates’ platforms. However the poll’s results suggest that marijuana reform could be one of the driving issues in next year’s campaigns.
There are many potential candidates that have avoided taking one side or the other.
When asked, Hillary Clinton said her decision as to whether or not to decriminalize marijuana at a federal level would depend on the success or failure of legalized pot in states like Colorado and Washington.
But with so many voters in swing states interested in reform, most expect that candidates will eventually have to draw a line and make their position on the issue known.