Former President Bill Clinton spoke Sunday on Meet the Press expressing his belief that states should ‘experiment’ with allowing adults to use marijuana recreationally, Washington Post reports. “I think we should leave it to the states,” Clinton said. “If the state wants to try it, they can. And they’ll be able to see what happens.” Though this seems to be a new take from the former president, he claimed that there are still many questions to be answered. He said, “This really is a time when there should be laboratories of democracy, because nobody really knows where this is going. Are there adequate quality controls? There’s pot and there’s ‘pot’; what’s in it? What’s going to happen? There are all these questions.” This is a similar stance to that of Clinton’s wife, Hilary, who recently changed her official position.
This is in stark contrast to how President Clinton treated the issue during his presidency. Clinton’s administration wanted to punish doctors for even discussing medical marijuana as an alternative treatment with patients. Many who look at this see it as the act of a shrewd politician who has changed his position due to a shift in the political landscape. It could, however, be indicative of where the Clintons are moving when it comes to the evolution of the issue of drug policy.
President Obama held another public forum yesterday on Youtube, and once again the questions were dominated by concerns about our nation's drug policies. Many in the reform movement were worried that we would be ignored or laughed off again. Well, the President did respond:
We at MPP are pleased that President Obama is at least taking the issue of drug policy reform seriously. But his response is not much better than what President Bush might have said. Yes, we need to improve access to drug treatment and we need to focus on other options in the criminal justice system for first-time, non-violent offenders. But we need to have a far more serious discussion about the potential benefits of creating a legal, regulated market for marijuana.
It is time to end marijuana prohibition and it is inappropriate for the president to group that subject into an across-the-board opposition to "legalizing drugs."