On Wednesday, President Barack Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney will face off on live television in the first of several debates that could shape the upcoming election.
Medical marijuana professionals might want to tune in to the debates: The candidates could field questions about MMJ and cannabis legalization in general, particularly in the second one Oct. 16 when audience members will get to ask questions.
There’s a chance, however, that they could touch on the issue Wednesday: Colorado has one of the largest medical marijuana industries in the country, home to more than 1,000 dispensaries, grow sites and infused-product manufacturers. It also has a measure on the ballot this November asking voters to legalize the general use of marijuana. Additionally, the debate is focused on domestic policy and will be held at a university, so medical cannabis will be a particularly big topic of interest to those in attendance.
The biggest question for the MMJ industry going into the debates is will either candidate actually shed any new light on their vague positions regarding medical marijuana and cannabis legalization?
It’s possible but doubtful. Both Obama and Romney have been asked countless times about MMJ, and in most cases they sidestep the question or offer vague answers. In an interview Monday with the Denver Post, Romney said he opposes “marijuana being used for recreational purposes and I believe the federal law should prohibit the recreational use of marijuana.” But he didn’t directly address medical marijuana, though a campaign spokesman told the Washington Post today that Romney is against MMJ legalization.
Obama has been similarly vague about medical marijuana in recent interviews, and the current MMJ crackdown under his administration is uneven and unpredictable.
Both presidents, however, seem to be against the idea of general marijuana legalization. Romney has made it crystal clear that he would not allow that to happen under his watch. Obama, while less assertive on the issue, has indicated he doesn’t think it’s the proper path for the country to take. It unclear how the presidents would respond if an individual states such as Colorado legalizes cannabis use.