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Does Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz Support Marijuana Reform?

ted cruz marijuana

(image via Wikipedia)

The 2016 Presidential race went into full swing on Monday with the Iowa Caucuses taking place. On the Democrat side, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton essentially tied, and O’Malley did so poorly that he dropped out of the race after the results were announced. On the GOP side, which has many more candidates, Ted Cruz came out on top, with Donald Trump taking second place in Iowa, and Marco Rubio rounding out the top three.

Ted Cruz pulled off somewhat of an upset by winning in Iowa, and has changed the conversation as far as who is considered to be the front-runner on the GOP side to get the party’s nomination. Of course, there has only been one state that has voted so far, and there’s still a lot of primaries to go, but Ted Cruz’s victory was impressive enough that I have heard a lot of political pundits point to him now as the front-runner, so take that for what you will.

From a purely marijuana reform perspective, Ted Cruz is not as bad as some of his challengers, but is far from being a marijuana reform supporter. With Ted Cruz, it has been a mixed bag when it comes to his position on marijuana policy. He has stated that he believes that marijuana reform should be left to the states to decide, but has also criticized the Obama Administration for not stepping in to stop the implementation of marijuana legalization in the states that have approved it. Per Mother Jones:

“When it comes to a question of legalizing marijuana, I don’t support legalizing marijuana,” he told Hugh Hewitt in April. “If it were on the ballot in the state of Texas, I would vote no.”

“But I also believe that’s a legitimate question for the states to make a determination…I think it is appropriate for the federal government to recognize that the citizens of those states have made that decision, and one of the benefits of it, you know, using Brandeis’ terms of laboratories of democracy, is we can now watch and see what happens in Colorado and Washington State.”

But in 2014, Ted Cruz was very critical of Obama’s move to back off of marijuana enforcement in states that have legalized and people are complying with state law. Per and article from early 2014 in Mediaite:

“You could go to Congress, you can get a conversation, you could get Democrats and Republicans who would say, ‘We ought to change our drug policy in some way,’ and you could have a real conversation, you could have hearings, you could look at the problem, you could discuss commonsense changes that maybe should happen or shouldn’t happen,” Cruz continued. “This president didn’t do that. He just said, ‘The laws say one thing’ — and mind you these are criminal laws, these are laws that say if you do ‘X, Y, and Z’ you will go to prison. The president announced, ‘No, you won’t.'”

Tom Angell has the most comprehensive breakdown of how Presidential candidates feel about marijuana policy in America. In that breakdown, Tom Angell points out that Ted Cruz pressed then Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch on how she would handle state-level marijuana legalization:

Cruz pressed attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch with no fewer than 17 written questions about marijuana policy, including, “What steps will you take to require these states to cease and desist their support of the cultivation, distribution, and sale of marijuana, or to otherwise bring these states into compliance with existing federal controlled substance law?”

In the next paragraph of Tom’s article he gives what I feel is the best analysis of Ted Cruz’s position on marijuana policy:

Cruz’s overall position seems to be that states should be allowed to legalize marijuana but, given current federal law, the presidential administration should continue to stand in the way of states that move forward. However, he hasn’t yet introduced or co-sponsored any legislation to bring federal law into line with his apparent view that the national ban on marijuana possession, cultivation and sales should be removed so states can set their own policies without interference. He hasn’t even co-sponsored a bipartisan bill that fellow presidential contender Rand Paul and others have introduced to stop federal raids on state-legal medical marijuana patients and providers.

As with a lot of politicians, it’s hard to pin down exactly how Ted Cruz feels about marijuana. I think it’s safe to say that he doesn’t support reform, but is OK with letting states reform their laws, sort of. Well, at least some of the time. I guess it depends on who he is talking to on the campaign trail! Marijuana reform is going to continue to be a very important public policy issue, and if Ted Cruz is going to continue to lead the GOP pack that are running for President, I’m sure he will be asked about it a lot as the primaries roll on.


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Johnny Green


  1. Closet Warrior on

    I feel for ya Bongs, that’s un-American! Course I don’t have to tell you that. This country was set up for right to vote w/citizens outweighing the governmental process but sadly once a lot of laws that got voted on and passed are the same laws that bind your hands prverbily and people start freaking out when you go to change laws and the politicians start screaming WE CANT CHANGE “THE CONSTITUTION” that’s what our country’s built on. Sadly, it was built on blood, lies, land grabbing, and a million miles of loopholes that best serve the government rather than the people! But hey, look on the bright side you guys still have that kick ass World Famous Indiana Bubblegum to get you through their lack of progressive action. Sorry bout the novel but I’m passionate about reform as I’m sure you are too. Stay green

  2. Absolutely. Indiana would not dare have a referendum (we don’t allow it now could you imagine trying to get a bill passed to authorize it?) because we are close to 70% support for legal.

  3. This is an issue that affects Americans directly. It has caused more damage to American families than the war in the middle east, and maybe even a few wars combined. I hope I’m just not speaking for myself but for a lot of American families that have had their lives destroyed by an unjust judicial system. I will not be voting for ANY candidate that does not support reform of the judicial system and first of all cannabis reform. Private prisons have only fueled the for reform of the judicial system. Estimates for the cost of keeping a person in prison on average are about 30000 dollars per inmate if we have 2,400,000 inmates. You do the math but this are billion that could be used for more useful purposes. No telling how many prisoners have gotten long unjust sentences due to a judge the get a kickback for each year the individual is incarcerated. Lawyers are not making best effort to defend these folks in court due to easy plea bargains that actually stop cases from going to court because these lawyer are also getting part of this private prison money. If it is not that way then the system does give that appearance The number of prisoners in US jails and prison are staggering. GO SANDERS!

  4. Closet Warrior on

    Another problem with Cruz is that he is the new Nixon, backdoor deals and misinformation while putting on that fake ass smile and pretending to be acting christianlike. He’s nothing if not smoke and mirrors like the great and powerful Oz!!!

  5. Closet Warrior on

    That’s probably just one reason he won’t win! Backpedaling a state’s referendum after voter support is just bat shit crazy!!! Feel The Bern

  6. Closet Warrior on

    If you can’t even make up your mind if you’re a solid republican or a social libertarian and start your blog w/off hand topics then you may have more problems than looking for advice on your auto AK grow. Go to Grass City Forums for a copious amounts of info or Seedfinder but we try not to preach hyperbole on this site.

  7. Closet Warrior on

    Eloquently put, Cruz reminds me so much of Nixon. If it’s not a farce or a pipedream, I think Bernie Sanders has many progressive stances on all issues not just cannabis reform. He could be the answer but sadly as you stated, politicians are crafty and super pacs, big pharma, big tobacco, big alcohol, Wall Street, the Koch brothers, big energy(petroleum) and everybody with their hands in deep pockets are against him not to mention his own party. This man is a hero of mine win, lose or draw!!!

  8. Closet Warrior on

    Get your facts straight Johnny, Cruz didn’t pull off an impressive victory in Iowa, he pulled a Tricky Dick move and sucked up Trump’s votes by way of personal attack and STOLE Carson’s votes by lying to the Iowan voters stating Carson dropped out of the race. Btw, Fuck Trump!!! Cruz reminds me of Nixon, nuff said.

  9. Whyiowa4medical on

    Absolutely. The test toward progressive ideology is a foolproof plan for shaking the dead weight out of any candidacy. With the industry being so young and to support a candidate over their stance on full legalization was (now in the history books as a failure) serving only interests of their own. I want, and expect to see, an industry far more socially minded than Big Oil. If they fumble such a question as their views on cannabis, you can bet they serve the best interests of themselves and not our country. Thank you for seeing the point I was making. Yes, I am a Bernie supporter and saw the largest turn out ever in any caucus for him. I was humbled to be a part of his run for president in a small rural area with over a 350 head count participating in the process, but we need a congress to back him up as well.

  10. Oliver Steinberg on

    Bunny, you are mixed up; ending prohibition is not a dead end, it’s an opening: enhance public safety, reduce crime, curtail corruption, generate jobs, restore industrial hemp cultivation and processing, re-establish some ripped-off civil liberties, diminish the narco-bureaucracy, improve many seriously ill patients’ health & lower the cost of health care, lessen the widespread abuse of alcohol by legitimizing a safer alternative social euphoriant, and save tax dollars by ending costs of arrest, trial, diversion or incarceration–not to mention all the ancillary and secondary costs to society of saddling people with lifelong criminal records for something that shouldn’t be a crime.
    Repealing prohibition might also help restore respect for the laws and justice system. Unjust, irrational, and counterproductive prohibition laws are so corrosive that somoene such as yourself sees no reason not to violate them and even solicits on this thread for help and information to aid and abet that violation. You have a foggy political philosophy and a skewed perception of political reality–no doubt fed on Fox News diet of junk information. I suggest you devote as much thought and energy to fixing the laws rather than evading or violating them–that’s your duty as a citizen; and furthermore, because the drug prohibition laws have served as the template for a comprehensive high-tech privacy-violating police state, getting rid of these laws is both a hmuan rights issue and a civil liberties imperative. That is, if you care about America being a free country. Free, or drug-free, are mutually exclusive policies. The one presidential candidate left among the major parties who can be trusted to favor cannabis reform is Senator Sanders. If you vote for or support any of the Republican aspirants, then your moral duty is to forget about growing any clandestine vegetation–go turn yourself in, today. Your Republican icons Nixon, Reagan, Bush–and Cruz, Rubio, Christie, Trump, etc etc insist on it. And I wouldn’t want any weed from your garden to get into the marketplace, because it could be seriously spiritually polluted.

  11. Feel free to substitute the phrase “People all over the world” in the (partial) list I gave of people who are SUFFERING AND DYING, NEEDLESSLY, because they are being denied the Medicine that can ease theirs suffering or save their lives.

    How’s this for a statistic —





  12. ” To support a candidate over their stance on a singular issue is pure idiocy ”
    I agree with that statement to a degree.
    As I apply the scenario of cannabis as type of “litmus test” towards their attitudes and stances on what ever position, reason or subject a large majority of Americans believe in and want to change. Also this scenario applies to entities that will own them. Be it Big Pharma, the Media, Corporate Enterprises, or people like the Cocaine (Koch) brothers, Sheldon Adelson, etc. You can also add in the Cartel$ and their permitted use of the American financial system. Yet one of the most fastest growing, totally American based industry is out casted by the same system. And still to add that the I R S and the States still openly takes it’s share of taxes from a Federal illegal activity. That alone unto itself is screwy (legal term). This goes all the way back to the Founding Fathers and their well known unscrupulous land grabs and has continued as well as escalated to this day. Again I use it as a litmus test. IMHO

  13. America America America. The sun doesn’t revolve around your country. There are other countries also with prohibition. Prohibition worse than yours! You whine about a large prison population when in some other countries the “undesirables” just get killed by the government. Better dead than in prison, correct? Maybe you should come and live in the third world and experience it for yourself. Hint: There are no major pot legalization groups outside the Americas. Why do you think that is?

  14. Good luck with that. California, which started this whole thing in 1996 withstood the fury of Clinton, Bush and Obama, who realised that the Federal government does not have the resources to shut down Delaware, much less California. You now have 38 States with some capacity of Cannabis and much more will be during the election. Plus you have Canada to the North and possibly Mexico to the south. In the event Rubio does become president and attempt what the above mentioned presidents had done with one state for much of 20 years, he will realise not just California will continue to ignore him, most of the other States will also. Plus he would probably be a marked man as well.

  15. Most of our brave Senators and Representatives will vote to reschedule cannabis only when they are forced to do so. In states where it is possible to put legalization to a vote, it will mostly pass, and votes in congress will follow. Until then, no sitting president will do it on their own.

  16. Whyiowa4medical on

    If even Rand Paul, you all know him – the Republican who had cannabis industry dollars thrown at him, had he made the GOP numbers to be a viable candidate; I still could not support him. To support a candidate over their stance on a singular issue is pure idiocy that I believed the cannabis industry was above, but obviously this was a pipe dream. This is such a fragile time in human existence that just knowing Democratic Candidates will even listen to us shows more progress than one could have hoped for in the 1970s. I will throw NO ONE under the bus to do something legally that I have done since 1974 on a nearly nightly basis. Do I think Hillary would legalize at the national level? Hell no, they already have the agendas made and written before they announce their campaigns to the public. We could tip, ever so easily, into a great depression that could spell the extinction of America, as we know it. This is the main reason I do not want a “change the world” fundamentalist Christian in the White House backpedaling us to the stone age. I want a person there who will take care of all Americans, not buzzword and fanatic feeding interests, that will damage more than help; even if they promised free and legal high octane weed to everyone who wanted it.
    When we go that far in the destruction of middle class and lower middle class families we officially become Mexico. The most despicable dictators in history have begun just as popular as Ted Cruze, among certain “purist populations” that believe all of their countries problems are caused by their well targeted racism. Then to tear apart a National Health Care program that has been sought since Teddy Roosevelt and not take this to the next logical step of a “Single Payer System” is the deepest form of “head in the sand” idiocy since clean coal. We are on the precipice of extinction, to play your vote over abortion, Obamacare destruction, a vast nuclear array that was difficult enough to reduce, or the teaching of proven scientific facts shows these voters to be completely ignorant of just how closely these candidates are to the anti-Christ of the mythology the Book of Revelation purports. Yes, I more than most would like to see cannabis as federally legal, but I will not risk our species, nor the unnecessary death of millions to achieve that end. People are starving in America, people are getting sick and dying needlessly in America. If you would vote for Cruze if he promised federal legalization, then smoke up hard, fast, and furious for tomorrow you shall die (or witness multitudes die).

  17. Oliver Steinberg on

    There is truth in what you say, but my experience over 50 years in politics is that most, altho not all, politicians are plastic in their rhetoric and ALSO in their positions or principles; but there are exceptions–Paul Wellstone, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Ron Paul come to mind–and they are truly public servants, not power-seekers; by the way, all of those I mentioned have demonstrated their electability when they are able to get their message to the voters. I would liken Cruz more to Newt Gingrich, whose early support for modifying cannabis laws changed into hardline drug-war stands when the presidential bug bit him.

  18. Brand spankin’ new, here. I hope I’m not too terribly off topic in tossing out the following if so, kindly point me in the right direction? I’m seeking good advice on a first time grow with Autoflowering feminized AK-47.. Please don’t laugh at the question but I haven’t been able to find a simple, solid, direct answer in the matter.
    Specifically, does this strain produce seeds given there are no males present? I adore this plant’s qualities and wish to avoid dealing with the male plants Just good general advice, anyone? Any solid advice on feeding intervals? If so, what with? Proportions/ratios? I’ve heard everything from bat guano to plant food stakes to diluted Jack Daniels.
    I’m not a novice gardener by any means, my interests are strictly medicinal and personal use. As an aside,I subscribe to the Don’t Tell, Don’t Sell philosophy so I constitute no up and coming competition to anyone, whatsoever.

    In the interest of disclosure and commenting on the actual thread topic, please know: I’m a solid Republican and an undeniable red meat Conservative with absolutely no love lost for the DNC/Socialist Party. (Frankly and simply, if you thought for a split second that the Obama Abomination ever really gave a rat’s ass about Legalization, you really should’ve done your home work on this guy-he’s never had a single shred to gain in pursuing the matter-just like no Republican candidate does, now, A political dead end issue in that it would render only happiness to a veritable slice segment of the population it’s the nature of the beast, and boils down to political viability,regrettably) I am most certainly not a garden variety low information voter. That being established, I do, however; depart from my political brothers and sisters in that I am and have always been firmly in the court of Legalization., regardless of Recreational use, Medicinal, or Other) Period. In this respect, I’m a social Libertarian and a hardcore fiscal Conservative but I digress as I am wont to do…
    Truth be told, there are many more of us than one might suspect. Something of an anomaly, I know.

    Living in a state that distinguishes itself by kicking the proverbial can down the road on any matter hinting at Legalization, I’m forced to maintain extreme discretion and so I grow indoors, utilize both hydro setups and conventional potting mixes on a very small scale..m2 as a max. I find that I experience the best results in avoiding complex contraptions and intricate equipment, keeping it simple and as close to a natural environment as possible indoors has proven to me to be the best form of success.
    With this in mind, I come seeking only knowledge.

  19. All politicians use rhetoric, and the content and tone are adjusted for the audience being addressed at the time.

  20. Oliver Steinberg on

    Johnny, why use the Rush Limbaugh and Joe McCarthy vocabulary of political disparagement? The Democratic Party has always been known as the Democratic Party, and that is its correct and proper appellation. Joe McCarthy decided to use the truncated form “Democrat Party” for derogatory purposes in the 1950’s; Limbaugh and others in the ultra-reactionary right-wing propaganda apparatus, including Roger Ailes’ Fox News corporation, have revived and perpetuated the practice. It is petty and partisan, so if you consider the fact that many more Democratic officeholders than Republicans are sympathetic to cannabis law reform (still not enough of EITHER party!) then maybe you should use the polite and correct adjectival form: Democratic Party. FYI.

  21. Oliver Steinberg on

    Politicians like Cruz shift and rearrange their positions for whatever political advantage they think they can get by doing so.
    When Cruz decided to run for Pres., he forsook his previous theoretical recognition of the states’ right to set policy on cannabis, and moved into the drug-war prohibitionist camp. His core base of support is extreme evangelical ultra-nationalist authoritarians–I refuse to call them “Christians” because they wouldn’t recognize Jesus if he knocked on their door. These voters are almost unanimously anti-pleasure, channeling the old Puritan mentality, and Cruz won’t take any stand now, which they would disapprove of.
    The whole lot of these ambitious jerks can’t be trusted, except for Rand Paul, who just dropped out of the race, and Bernie Sanders, who is a different breed—a genuine public servant, not a power-hungry ego tripped. Bernie has firmed up his position as a critic of mass incarceration and a clear supporter of ending cannabis prohibition. Hillary Clinton, however, with a finger to the wind, declares AGAINST personal-use legalization and FOR medicinal marijuana.
    BUT look at deeds not words. When in office, Senator Clinton never supported medical use; and when her husband was President and could have re-scheduled cannabis to permit medical use, as recommended by the DEA’s chief administrative law judge, he refused to do so; and also refused to re-open HHS’s Compassionate Investigative New Drug supplies of government-grown cannabis to patients with AIDS and other severe or deadly diseases.

  22. Marco Rubio has flat out stated that if he wins he will use the full power of the feds to shut marijuana down in states where it is “legal.”

  23. Agree with Jerry, If you would ‘leave it to the states’, then why can’t you say “I’d work to remove all federal laws and impediments”?

  24. The problem with Ted is with his statement , like the other republican candidates is that there is “no meat on the bone”. Unless you state that you would remove cannabs from the CSA’s list.

  25. State by state isn’t even acceptable for adult use, let alone medical use.

    Medical Marijuana Saves Lives.

    It is IMMORAL to leave Marijuana illegal for even one second longer.

    It is one of the most important MORAL issues of our time.

    Americans with Cancer, American Kids with Seizures, American Veterans with PTSD and Americans with Chronic Pain, are suffering and dying, NEEDLESLY.

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