When asked to articulate their positions on recreational marijuana, several potential GOP 2016 candidates have tried to strike a tricky balance: stress the downsides of pot use and the upsides of states’ rights. Some have indicated their openness to decriminalizing pot, at least in their state, but none favors outright legalization.
For instance, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who took steps toward decriminalizing pot in his state, declared last year: “I am a staunch promoter of the 10th Amendment. States should be able to set their own policies on abortion, same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization.”
Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, meanwhile, “believes legalization of marijuana for recreational use is a bad idea, and that the states that are doing it may well come to regret it,” said Alex Conant, his spokesman. “Of course, states can make decisions about what laws they wish to apply within their own borders.”
Marijuana may not stimulate the same kind of passion as the debate over same-sex marriage. Still, a majority of Americans support legalizing pot, and young people — who tend to turn out more for presidential elections than midterms — are especially keen on it.