The latest Wikileaks release of emails connected to Hillary Clinton reveals that the Democratic nominee’s position on cannabis has changed drastically over the years.
Tom Angell of marijuana.com took a dive into the Wikileaks release and found a record of a closed-door Q & A session with Ursula Burns — Chairman and CEO of Xerox – from March 2013. The two agreed to use the Wall Street jargon “long” and “short” to discuss key issues facing America.
“So long means thumbs up, short means thumbs down; or long means I support, short means I don’t,” Burns said. “So legalization of pot?”
“Short in all senses of the word,” Clinton said. In other words, the former secretary of state opposed all forms of cannabis legalization.
But she’s since turned over a new leaf on the issue, making cannabis reform part of her presidential campaign. Clinton has vowed to continue the Obama Administration’s policy of respecting each state’s right to decide the legality of recreational and medical marijuana. She has also pledged to reschedule cannabis in the Controlled Substances Act, which would allow researchers to study its health benefits and potential risks thoroughly. Additional research could open the door to marijuana receiving FDA approval as medicine.
So activists could celebrate the latest leak as a win for their cause. A sign that progress is being made since an old opponent is now a new ally. Some credit for Clinton’s evolution on the issue is also due to Bernie Sanders, who was the most outspoken proponent of cannabis legalization in the race for the nominations of the two major parties. And the Vermont senator’s surprising bid for the Democratic nomination showed that it was okay for White House hopefuls to take a progressive stance on cannabis reform.
Of course, some will say that Clinton’s contradiction could mean that she is being two-faced on the issue. Perhaps we should play wait and see, and hold our breath about her following through on her promise for reform. Then again, Clinton has stuck by her current cannabis stance despite being given outs along the campaign trail. She could’ve moved away from the issue when Sanders – her only rival for the Democratic nomination – ended his campaign last July. But she didn’t.
And she could’ve sided with the DEA, which recently reaffirmed their stance that cannabis is a dangerous drug that has no medical value. Instead, her campaign criticized the DEA’s backward stance on the issue and reasserted Clinton’s commitment to reform. So she has wagered a lot of credibility on the issue – perhaps too much to fold on her stance now. But we won’t know for sure until she takes office.