Paul Finds Unlikely Support From Marijuana Advocates

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA :Among the top contributors to Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s presidential campaign are the usual suspects — a financial management firm, a real estate developer, a manufacturer of hand tools.

But Paul also is getting significant support from an unlikely source for a conservative Republican — the marijuana industry.

The Marijuana Policy Project gave Paul’s campaign $5,000 — the legal limit that a political committee can give a candidate, according to campaign finance records.

The National Cannabis Industry Association gave $5,000. Its executive director and federal lobbyist added another $2,000, according to a tally by the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan group that tracks campaign spending.

Pro-Marijuana Group Rereleases Republicans’ Ratings Before Debate in Colorado

COLORADO: At a Republican presidential debate hosted in Colorado, one issue is destined to come up: pot.

Colorado’s experiment with legalized marijuana remains a hot topic as the next election approaches, and for many Republicans, the subject requires a balancing act between wanting to protect individual and state rights without seeming to condone people getting high.

In that spirit, the Marijuana Policy Project, an advocacy group for the legal marijuana industry, has dusted off its scorecard of where the candidates stand on the issue.

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky is expected to get the most cheers from the legalization crowd, as he gets an A-minus grade from the group because of his calls to decriminalize recreational use and his desire for states to decide their own marijuana laws.

All Of These Presidential Candidates Have Admitted Smoking Marijuana

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: One of the lighter moments of Wednesday’s epic slog of a Republican presidential primary debate came when former Florida governor Jeb Bush joked that his mother, the former first lady, would not be happy that he admitted having smoked marijuana “40 years ago.”

The line got a fair amount of laughs from the audience, but it also came amid a broader debate among the candidates over federal drug laws. Defending marijuana legalization, Sen. Rand Paul asserted that “kids who had privilege like [Bush]” are often given a pass when it comes to admitting past drug use, whereas people from poorer backgrounds — often minorities — are more likely to go to prison for using marijuana.

Paul is easily the most marijuana-friendly candidate in the Republican field, though he has famously declined to offer a straight answer as to whether or not he’s ever used the drug himself. The rest of the candidates are divided when it comes to their stances on marijuana legalization, with Bush saying that it is an issue that should be decided on a state level while others, like Carly Fiorina and New Jersey governor Chris Christie, argued that federal laws banning marijuana should be enforced in every state.

Rand Paul Hits Jeb Bush On Marijuana Rich Kid ‘Hypocrisy

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul continued to hit former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Thursday for admitting to smoking marijuana in high school — saying his “hypocrisy” is an example of why drug laws need changing in U.S.

Bush admitted in previous interviews and again during Wednesday’s Republican presidential primary debate smoking marijuana while attending the prestigious Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts.

“He didn’t go to jail,” Paul told students at the University of Nevada-Reno on Thursday. “Why? Because he was rich, and he was elite, and he was going to a very special school.”

Paul said he didn’t begrudge Bush’s education, but said that Bush supports policies that disproportionately result in minority and lower-income young people going to jail for lengthy sentences.

Colorado Marijuana Law Point Of Contention During GOP Debate; Bush Smoked 40 Years Ago

CALIFORNIA: Colorado’s recreational marijuana law took center stage for a time during the Republican presidential debate Wednesday night.

It certainly was a political point of contention.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie defended his position that if he’s elected president, he would enforce the federal law and make it illegal to smoke marijuana recreationally in Colorado.

Jeb Bush voted against legalizing marijuana in Florida, but he argued Colorado could make its own decisions. Then Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul went on the offensive.

“Gov. Christie would go into the state of Colorado and if you’re breaking any federal law, even though the state law allows it, he would put you in jail,” Paul said.

Most 2016 Candidates Are Opting For A Federalist Approach To Marijuana

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has been vocal about his dedication to maintaining the war on drugs, commenting on several occasions that he would use his power as president to prevent states from legalizing marijuana.

While Christie might have found himself in good company back in 2012 or 2008, most of the 2016 candidates from both parties — including Jeb BushLincolnChafeeHillary ClintonTed CruzRand PaulRick Perry, and Bernie Sanders— have taken a more hands-off, federalist approach. In the words of GOP candidate Carly Fiorina, “Colorado voters made a choice. I don’t support their choice, but I do support their right to make that choice.”

 

A Closer Look At The Federal MMJ Bill

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  There was a historical piece of legislation introduced to Congress that aims to legalize medical marijuana on a national level. Senators Rand Paul, Cory Booker and Kristen Gillibrand held a press conference on Tuesday to announce the filing of the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States Act of 2015 (CARERS), which would emancipate states from the confines of federal statutes as they pertain to medical marijuana and ultimately expand the functionality of the nation’s cannabis communities without the concern of federal interference.

Prior to the press conference, all that was known about the bill was that it would “allow patients, doctors and businesses in states that have already passed medical marijuana laws to participate in those programs without fear of federal prosecution.” However, now that the legislation has been published in its entirely, the broader scope of its intentions have been revealed.

Perhaps one of the most crucial elements of the CARERS Act is that it gives medical marijuana states the right to disconnect from the Controlled Substances Act, no longer making the “production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, laboratory testing or delivery of medical marihuana,” illegal in the eyes of the federal government. Under this provision, the Drug Enforcement Administration would cease to have jurisdiction over state medical marijuana businesses and its patients.

What’s In The Historic Medical Marijuana Bill Being Unveiled On Tuesday

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: The historic medical marijuana bill a trio of senators plan to unveil on Tuesday has a bit of something for everyone.

The bill, which activists describe as a first for the Senate, would end the federal prohibition on medical marijuana and implement a number of critical reforms that advocates of both medical and recreational marijuana have been seeking for years, according to several people familiar with the details of the proposal. It would reclassify the drug in the eyes of the Drug Enforcement Administration, allow for limited inter-state transport of the plant, expand access to cannabis for research, and make it easier for doctors to recommend the drug to veterans and easier for banks to provide services to the industry.

“It’s the most comprehensive medical marijuana bill in Congress,” said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, one of several groups consulted for the bill. The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) act grew out of an amendment proposed last year by Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and is being introduced by those two senators in conjunction with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).

Top Conservatives Are Totally Confused By Marijuana Politics

MARYLAND: When pressed at an annual conference for conservative activists this week about their stances on marijuana legalization, several members of the Republican Party said that although they personally oppose legalizing the drug, they support states’ rights to do so.

At the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, Fox News’ Sean Hannity asked former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) Friday if Colorado’s legalization of marijuana was a good idea.

“I thought it was a bad idea,” Bush said, “but states ought to have that right to do it. I would have voted ‘no’ if I was in Colorado.”

Rand Paul Proposes Measure To Shield State Medical Marijuana Laws From Feds

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Thursday filed an amendment in the Senate that would protect states that implement medical marijuana laws, as well as patients and physicians in those states, from federal prosecution.

Paul’s Amendment 3630, filed Thursday morning to Sen. John Walsh’s (D-Mont.) jobs bill being heard on the Senate floor, allows states to “enact and implement laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of marijuana for medical use” without fear of federal prosecution. There are 33 states that have enacted laws protecting some form medical marijuana.

The amendment also prohibits prosecution of patients and physicians in those states for violating federal laws against the drug.

“What we’re trying to do is look at the law and allow states that have changed their laws and have allowed medical marijuana to do so, for doctors to be able to prescribe and for people to be able to get those prescriptions without being worried about the federal government coming in and arresting them,” Brian Darling, Paul’s communications director, told The Huffington Post.