The True “Green” CandidateBy Tommy Purvis
Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party nominee for President of the United States, says, if elected, her administration would reverse President Obama’s escalation of the cannabis war and quickly legalize the medical use of marijuana—a move already pioneered by 17 states (plus Washington, D.C.). Her administration would also move to permit general sales under a suitable regulatory framework.
“Marijuana is a substance that’s dangerous because it’s illegal, it’s not illegal because it’s dangerous.” Stein told CULTURE in an exclusive interview on the campaign trail. The Harvard Medical School graduate and relentless public health advocate—who serves on the board of the greater Boston area Physicians for Social Responsibility—says her administration would end this ineffective and costly prohibition.
Stein also said that her progressive policies would regulate marijuana in a similar way to alcohol, and begin to treat drug use as a public health problem, not a criminal problem.
Legalization would prevent billions of dollars in profits from pouring into the black market, Stein says. It would also greatly reduce violence associated with illegal sales, and reduce underage marijuana use. She says allowing commercial operations to pay appropriate marijuana taxes can balance budgets and fund programs to reduce drug abuse. Stein says it is offensive that taxpayers are paying up to $50,000 a year to incarcerate non-violent recreational drug users.
“It’s just shocking how Obama has abandoned good sense, common sense and decency on this, and sought to criminalize people who are doing the right thing by serving an urgent medical need,” she says.
In order to offer relief to hundreds of thousands of patients suffering from chronic pain and cancer who benefit from the availability of medical marijuana under state laws, Stein says that her administration would order the DEA and the Justice Department to immediately cease and desist all harrassment and prosecution of state-recognized medical marijuana dispensaries or other legitimate marijuana-related operations. Stein says she would instruct the DEA to do something else even more “radical”—base the scheduling of drugs on science. There’s no reason for marijuana to be classified as a Schedule I substance, which essentially says it is considered as dangerous and without medical value like LSD and heroin, she says
Stein says her administration’s policies would reflect marijuana’s standing is an important and critical resource that would also liberate hemp for commercial use. In a speech this past April to tens of thousands of marijuana reform advocates at a 420 rally in Denver, the environmental health pioneer took the Obama administration to task for raids on dispensaries and caregivers.
The presidential hopeful also criticizes Obama for promoting a George W. Bush appointee (and rabid drug warrior), Michele Leonhart, as head of the DEA.
“This crazy, racist, failed war on drugs starting with the criminalization of marijuana would be over. It would be over,” Stein says if she were to be elected. “The minute you legalize marijuana, and you stop the prohibition against it, then the danger goes out of it.”
Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein doesn’t hold back when faulting our current president: “President Obama promised to use a science-based approach to public policy,” she said. “But when it comes to marijuana, he has continued the unscientific policies of George Bush, and has even gone far beyond Bush in his attacks upon medical marijuana clinics. He supports the irrational classification of marijuana in the most dangerous drug category, and he supports the ban on commercial hemp growing. This is mania-based policy, not science-based policy.”