Updated Oct. 29. 2015 at 8:40 a.m.
One of America’s largest marijuana policy organizations is grading presidential candidates on their individual reform policy — and the grades on the report card run the spectrum from A to F.
The candidates that currently have the top grades: On the Democratic side, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders gets an A and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul gets an A-.
Sanders announced Oct. 28 that if elected, he would seek to remove marijuana from a list of drugs deemed illegal by the federal government, freeing up states to regulate pot like alcohol or tobacco. The senator would call for marijuana to be removed from the so-called Schedule I of controlled substances regulated by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Paul has not only admitted to using marijuana as a young man and called out fellow Republican candidate Jeb Bush for his “hypocrisy” on the subject — he’s also joined with two Democratic senators to push a bill that would remove federal prohibitions on medical marijuana in the 23 states that have already legalized it.
More marijuana politics
On the federal level: House passes bill to prevent DOJ from interfering in states’ medical pot laws
At the VA: Senate panel revives plan to let VA doctors give advice about medical pot
In Illinois: Illinois legislation to decriminalize marijuana possession headed to gov
In Colorado: A new proposal would allow more places for pot use in Denver
In the Pacific Northwest: Oregon House advances state marijuana regulations
Bernie Sanders: Will the senator legalize cannabis if elected president?
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“Voters should know which candidates support rolling back prohibition and which ones are fighting to maintain it,” Mason Tvert, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement June 26. “People are becoming increasingly wary of the federal government’s role in our nation’s marijuana policies.”
The candidates who scored the worst on the MPP’s report card: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Sen. Rick Santorum, who both received Fs from the pro-legalization organization because “they oppose reform efforts and they are the most vocal supporters of enforcing federal prohibition laws in states that have made marijuana legal.”
Sure enough, Christie is one of legal weed’s most vocal opponents.
How did some of the bigger-name candidates fare? Jeb Bush received a D because he “has a long history of supporting the war on drugs and opposing the legalization of marijuana for any purpose,” says the MPP. Hillary Clinton was given a B- because “she supports Washington and Colorado’s rights to set their own marijuana policies and that she is interested in seeing the results of their decisions to legalize marijuana prior to taking a position for or against such laws,” according to the MPP.
The MPP’s report card is timed to this weekend’s Western Conservative Summit, which is expected to bring seven of the candidates to Colorado.
“Several states are likely to adopt new approaches to marijuana policy between now and when our next president takes office,” said the MPP’s Tvert. “She or he should be willing to work with Congress to ease the tension between state and federal marijuana laws.”
See the Marijuana Policy Project’s full report card.
The Associated Press contributed to this report