'Public Opinion Has Changed So Dramatically': How Cannabis Is Shaping The 2020 Presidential Election – Benzinga

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America’s shifting perception of cannabis can be traced through presidential cycles. 

When then-Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton was running for president in 1992, he said in an interview: “When I was in England, I experimented with marijuana a time or two, and didn’t like it. I didn’t inhale and I didn’t try it again.”

The country’s 44th president was more candid when asked about marijuana 14 years later. 

“When I was a kid, I inhaled,” then-Sen. Barack Obama said in 2006. “That was the point.” 

In the 2020 cycle, several Democratic candidates have made cannabis part of their campaign platforms. 

The Democratic Field And Marijuana 

Steven Hawkins, the executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, likens the shift to the state of marriage equality between the 2008 election and the end of the Obama administration.

“Four years ago, no one would’ve thought that [cannabis] would emerge in any way in terms of a presidential debate. And here we are talking about it, because this whole political landscape and public opinion has changed so dramatically,” he said. 

The role cannabis is playing in this election cycle is already evident in the early debates and candidate statements and will continue into the primaries, Hawknis said. 

Others believe it’s too early too tell. 

More than 20 candidates are seeking the Democratic nomination, said Amanda Ostrowitz, the CEO and founder of CannaRegs. 

“Right now there are too many people in the ring, but after the primaries, we will be able to better understand who is going to distinguish cannabis reform as part of their campaign.”

Hawkins said whoever wins the Democratic nomination will have a progressive stance on cannabis. 

That could include former Vice President Joe Biden, he said. In May, a Biden spokesman told CNN

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