I had noticed earlier this week that GOP Prez candidate (and seeming front-runner) Donald Trump had a few notable comments about marijuana policy during an interview with Bill O’Reilly. Helpfully, this new High Times piece by Jon Gettman, headlined “Pot Matters: Trump on Marijuana,” not only details what Trump recently had to say on this topic, but also explains why his latest comments suggest The Donald is generally supportive of at least some marijuana reform. I recommend the piece in full, and here are excerpts:
Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump is hedging his position on marijuana legalization, but is a hundred percent in favor of medical marijuana. Nonetheless, Trumps stated position on legalization is evolving, because he has acknowledged that in some ways legalization is good.
Trump, speaking to Bill OReilly on Fox News this week, was asked about his position on marijuana legalization in Colorado. After expressing some concern over the health effects of marijuana, he was pressed by OReilly about what he would do to stop it. Trump then confessed that I would, I would really want to think about that one Bill because in some ways, I think its good and in other ways, its bad. But then Trump hastened to point out his unequivocal support for medical marijuana, explaining that I know people that have serious problems… and… it really, really does help them.
Trumps cautious approach to legalization is based on uncertainty, as he sees it, about the impact of legal marijuana use on peoples health. He ignored OReillys opening claim about dealers, all the pushers… going to Colorado loading up… on pot… and then zooming around the country selling it. When asked if that concerned him, Trump responded that its a real problem. But then Trump changed the subject, explaining that theres another problem… the book isnt written on it yet, but theres a lot of difficulty in terms of illness and whats going on with the brain and the mind, and what its doing… its coming out, probably, over the next year or so.
Asked then if he would stop it, Trump paused, hesitant to commit himself as a presidential candidate to push back against Colorados program. I do want to see what the medical effects are, he said. After repeating this twice, Trump then volunteered his complete support for medical marijuana, continuing with his pro medical marijuana commentsin spite of OReillys claim that medical marijuana is a ruse. Faced with Trumps support for medical marijuana and his personal familiarity with medical cannabis patients, OReilly conceded that I know, and theyre taken care of.
Aside from his support for medical marijuana, the most interesting comment that Trump made about his position was that in some ways, I think [legalization] s good. It will be interesting, over the course of the campaign, to hear Trump elaborate on this comment. In this interview, he laid out why in other ways its bad, but apparently its not bad enough to justify a definitive statement opposing legalization. Why not?…
Trump was originally for legalization in 1990 as the only way to win the War on Drugs but has expressed his reservations about legalization during this campaign. His rivals in the nomination contest have all expressed reluctance to interfere with state-level legalization policies because they believe states have the right to set their own policies. Trumps comment to OReilly that legalization is good in some ways moves beyond tolerating legalization as a states right by recognizing the potential public policy benefits of Colorados approach.