- Marijuana legalization activists plan to make a big push in 2016.
- That push will force candidates, including Hillary Clinton if she runs, to take a stand on the issue.
- Clinton says she has never tried marijuana and has not been as supportive of marijuana policy as other Democrats.
- “I am fearful… that she is going to tack more to the middle,” said one activist.
Washington (CNN) — When Hillary Clinton graduated from Wellesley College in 1969 — where the future first lady and Secretary of State says she did not try marijuana — only 12% of Americans wanted to legalize the drug.
In 45 years, however, the tide has changed for legalization: 58% of Americans now want to make consumption legal, two states (Colorado and Washington) already have and two more states (Oregon and Alaska) could join them by the end of the year.
Despite their growth in approval, many activists see 2014 as a smaller, but important, step to their end goal. It is 2016, when voters will also have to decide who they want in the White House, that marijuana activists feel could be the real tipping point for their movement.
“There will certainly be even more on the ballot in 2016,” said Tamar Todd, director of marijuana law and policy and the Drug Policy Alliance. “More voters coming to the polls means more support for marijuana reform and in presidential election years, more voters turn out.”
Demographics and money are also an important consideration. Big donors who are ready to fund pro-legalization efforts are more loose with their money in presidential years, according to activists, while Democrats and young people are more likely to turn out. This means legalization activists will be better funded to reach the nearly 70% of 18 to 29 year old Americans who support legalization.
On paper, …read more