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How Will Presidential Politics Affect 2016 Push For Pot Legalization

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By: Noelle Crombie | [email protected]

Advocates expect another major push for marijuana legalization in 2016, a strategy that is likely to force presidential candidates to take a position on the drug. Some wonder if their efforts will be tripped up if Hillary Clinton turns out to be the Democratic nominee.

CNN’s Dan Merica takes a look at presidential politics and the campaign to legalize marijuana. In her public comments on the pot, Clinton hastaken a “wait and see” approach to recreational pot.

“She is so politically pragmatic,” said Allen St. Pierre, the executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, told Merica. “If she has to find herself running against a conservative Republican in 2016, I am fearful, from my own view here, that she is going to tack more to the middle. And the middle in this issue tends to tack more to the conservative side.”

Reports CNN:

Despite warming on the issue, Clinton’s position is concerning to activists like St. Pierre because he feels they are far from solid.

“If reforms keep picking up… the winds in our sails are clear,” he said. “But if we lose one of more or all of those elections this year, cautious people around her could make the argument that this thing has peaked and you now have to get on the other side of it.”

Over the weekend, Oregonian senior political reporter Jeff Mapes did this overview of Measure 91, which would legalize pot for recreational use in Oregon. His story, which includes a side-by-side graphic of how Oregon’s pot possession would compare to Colorado and Washington, has generated hundreds of comments for far.

Philadelphia has a new stance on marijuana as of Monday. NBC News reports that anyone caught with up to an ounce of pot will face a $25 fine.

And in case you missed it, a Josephine County Circuit Court judge concluded that local governments have the right to ban medical marijuana dispensaries.

— Noelle Crombie

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