"On the recreational side, I have always maintained that legalizing marijuana will lead to overall less substance abuse because it's so much safer than everything else that's out there starting with alcohol."
Source: Rachel Chason, "Gary Johnson: Marijuana Doesn't Make You Stupid," cnn.com, June 17, 2016
[Editor's Note: Gary Johnson was the President and CEO of Cannabis Sativa, a marijuana marketing company, from July 1, 2014 to Jan. 1, 2016.]
"Yes, marijuana is dangerous - because it's illegal. It's not inherently dangerous. It's certainly less harmful than alcohol and tobacco, which are perfectly legal.
The real danger of marijuana is the violence of the underground drug economy created by prohibition.
Legalizing marijuana will end that violence, much like ending alcohol prohibition ended the violence of the illegal alcohol economy.
It's time to take marijuana off the black market, end crime and violence related to marijuana trafficking, stop wasting money and ruining lives by prosecuting victimless crimes, reduce prison populations, increase tax revenue, allow sick people their medicine, let farmers grow marijuana and hemp, and give responsible adults their freedom by legalizing it."
"[Juan Carlos] LOPEZ: When asked about legalizing recreational marijuana, you told her [Christiane Amanpour] let's wait and see how it plays out in Colorado and Washington. It's been more than a year since you've said that. Are you ready to take a position tonight?
CLINTON: No. I think that we have the opportunity through the states that are pursuing recreational marijuana to find out a lot more than we know today...
So, I think we're just at the beginning, but I agree completely with the idea that we have got to stop imprisoning people who use marijuana. Therefore, we need more states, cities, and the federal government to begin to address this so that we don't have this terrible result that Senator Sanders was talking about where we have a huge population in our prisons for nonviolent, low-level offenses that are primarily due to marijuana."
Source:Washington Post, "The CNN Democratic Debate Transcript, Annotated," washingtonpost.com, Oct. 13, 2015
"Marijuana is such a big thing. I think medical should happen -- right? Don't we agree? I think so. And then I really believe we should leave it up to the states. And of course you have Colorado. And I love Colorado and the people are great, but there's a question as to how it's all working out there, you know? That's not going exactly trouble-free. So I really think that we should study Colorado, see what's happening."
Source: Jenna Johnson, "Trump Softens Position on Marijuana Legalization," www.washingtonpost.com, Oct. 29, 2015
"Well I think medical use of marijuana in compassionate cases certainly has been proven to be useful but recognize that marijuana is what's known as a gateway drug. It tends to be a starter drug for people who move on to heavier duty drugs—sometimes legal, sometimes illegal—and I don't think this is something that we really want for our society to heathenistic [sic] activity and you know, it's just, we're changing so rapidly to a different type of society and nobody is getting a chance to discuss it."
Source: FoxNews.com, "Dr. Carson: Americans Need to Talk about Ramifications of Legal Marijuana," www.foxnews.com, Jan. 2, 2014
"I'm anti-marijuana. I believe it should still be illegal... If you're getting high in Colorado today, enjoy it till January 2017 because I will enforce the federal laws against marijuana as President of the United States...
I believe that it does damage to the brain and I think there's plenty of evidence that proves it. I believe that it's a gateway drug to other drugs."
Source: Chris Christie, "Newport, NH #TellingItLikeItIs Town Hall 7/28," YouTube.com, July 28, 2015
"I don't support legalized marijuana for a whole host of reasons, including the fact that this is a very complex chemical substance, and when we tell young people it is just like drinking a beer, we are not telling them the truth. But I think Colorado voters made a choice. I don't support their choice, but I do support their right to make that choice."
Source: Ben Kamisar, "Fiorina: States Should Have Right to Legalize Pot," thehill.com, June 9, 2015
"I just think it sends the wrong message. When you run around telling kids not to do drugs, young kids, and then they read that we might legalize marijuana, I just think it's a mixed message. It’s not good."
Source: Marc Lovacdix, "Kasich: Marijuana Legalization in Ohio Could Harm Drug Abuse Battle," www.the-daily-record.com, Nov. 1, 2015
"I think that states ought to have a right to decide these things. I think the federal government's role in our lives is way too-overreaching…
But having said that, if you're in Colorado and you can purchase marijuana openly, should people in Wyoming not be concerned about that? And I think there, maybe, the federal law needs to be looked at -- interstate commerce."
Source: Marc Caputo, "Jeb Bush Conflicted over Feds Role in Medical-Marijuana Enforcement," miamiherald.com, Aug. 15, 2014
"[Sean Hannity] Good idea legalizing marijuana [or] bad idea?...
[Ted Cruz] I actually think this is a great embodiment of what Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis called 'the laboratories of democracy,' If the citizens of Colorado decide they want to go down that road, that's their prerogative. I personally don't agree with it, but that's their right."
"[Mike Huckabee: T]his idea of recreational marijuana — well let's let Colorado have at it for a few years and let's see how that works out for them... The best way to determine whether this is good public policy is to do what the founders envisioned, and that's let states become laboratories of democracy.
[Host] Are you willing to change the federal law to allow that to happen?
[Huckabee] I'm willing to let states operate under the 10th Amendment, and I'm willing for the states, if they think that marijuana and the legalization of it is a great thing, you know, I'm willing for them to experiment and find out. And it if it works and it turns out that the presence of recreational marijuana makes them a more prosperous state... well heck, we may just all want to reach out there and grab that.
[Host] But you don't think that's going to happen.
[Huckabee] I probably don't think so."
Source: KCII, "KCII Close up: Mike Huckabee," YouTube.com, Oct. 17, 2015
"I think we need to have an open mind about that [legalizing marijuana]. I think there's a lot we can learn from Colorado and Washington State. They seem to be keeping very good records. They understand they are the first in the nation, and I think we should be guided by what they are doing in Colorado increases harm or reduces harm."
Source: Chris Moody and Alexander Rosen, "Fear and Loathing with Martin O'Malley," CNN.com, Oct. 9, 2015
"I'm not for having the federal government get involved. I really haven't taken a stand on... the actual legalization [of recreational marijuana]. I haven't really taken a stand on that, but I'm against the federal government telling them [the District of Columbia] they can't."
Source: Niels Lesniewski, "Rand Paul: Let DC Legalize Marijuana, If Voters Want," blogs.rollcall.com, Nov. 4, 2014
[Editor's Note: In addition to Rand Paul's Not Clearly Pro or Con quote above, he also made the following statement, as quoted in an Oct. 27, 2015 article "Ahead of GOP Debate, Rand Paul Talks Marijuana, Budget Filibuster," available at blogs.denverpost.com:
"I’m not here to advocate for marijuana. But I'm here to advocate for freedom. And you know what, if I’m president I’m going to leave Colorado the hell alone."]