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What You Need To Know About The Veep Candidates’ Stand on Marijuana

On the heels of last week’s presidential debate — which set records for TV ratings, general goofiness and internet memes — Tuesday night’s vice-presidential  affair promises to be a veritable snoozefest in comparison.

Let’s face it: Democratic nominee Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) and his Republican counterpart, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence do not engender much excitement. The only thing that might liven up this event is if Kaine whips out his harmonica and belts out a rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Debates among the bottom-of-the-ticket candidates are rarely must-see TV. Sure, there was Sarah Palin’s  “Can I call you Joe?” moment and Lloyd Bentsen’s “You’re no John Kennedy” barb. But this year’s VP event promises to be dull as dirt.

But if a question about marijuana legalization should be asked, be prepared for disappointment.

Kaine’s Position

Kaine has slowly evolved on his position of marijuana legalization and his position is now pretty much in line with Hillary Clinton’s.

In a 2014 radio interview, Kaine said ““I’ve never been a legalization fan. I just haven’t been. Just for a whole series of both health- and sort of crime-related reasons, I think that would not be a good idea.”

He has since softened his position a bit, recently. “I actually kind of like this notion of the states as labs and they can experiment (with legalization) and we can see what happens,” he said earlier this year.

Pence’s Position

During a gubernatorial debate in 2012, Pence had this to say about marijuana: “I would not support the decriminalization of marijuana. To be candid with you, growing up in the Hoosier State I’ve seen too many people become involved with marijuana and have their lives sidetracked as a result. We’re to see marijuana become a gateway drug to even worse addictions on their part. … We need to get more serious about confronting the scourge of drugs, especially meth, in Indiana and decriminalization is not the right path in my honest opinion.”

While a member of Congress, Pence repeatedly supported federal government marijuana prohibition, even against medical marijuana patients in legal marijuana states.

These opinions are not totally in line with top-ticket candidate Donald Trump, who appears in support of states deciding the issue.

Both parties are fairly vague in their official platform positions, but the GOP rejected a proposal to endorse medical marijuana.

The Republican Platform Position

“The progress made over the last three decades against drug abuse is eroding, whether for cultural reasons or for lack of national leadership. In many jurisdictions, marijuana is virtually legalized despite its illegality under federal law. At the other end of the drug spectrum, heroin use nearly doubled from 2003 to 2013, while deaths from heroin have quadrupled.

All this highlights the continuing conflicts and contradictions in public attitudes and public policy toward illegal substances. Congress and a new administration should consider the long-range implications of these trends for public health and safety and prepare to deal with the problematic consequences.”

And Kaine’s stance appears to be out of step with his party’s official position.

The Democratic Platform Position

“Because of conflicting laws concerning marijuana, both on the federal and state levels, we encourage the federal government to remove marijuana from its list as a Class 1 Federal Controlled Substance, providing a reasoned pathway for future legalization.”

Will you be watching Tuesday night? It’s unlikely that “Saturday Night Live” will spoof it like last weekend’s brilliant cold open.

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