Clinton Supports ‘Idea of’ Marijuana Decrim, Leak Shows

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton supports decriminalizing marijuana in principle but isn’t yet sold on the details of how to implement the policy change, a newly leaked transcript of a meeting with Black Lives Matter (BLM) activists shows.

“From my perspective we do need to look hard at decriminalizing behavior that is not harmful, that is not leading to violence, and try to figure out how best to do that,” Clinton said in response to a BLM organizer’s question about removing criminal penalties for cannabis and sex work, which have “historically been used to oppress” communities of color.

“I support the idea of it,” Clinton said. “I’m not sure exactly how you would implement it and how — you know, because remember, most of the laws you’re talking about are state and local laws. I mean, the federal government can encourage, can make suggestions, can provide incentives, but most criminal law, most policing, all of the problems that we’ve been discussing are really controlled at the local and the state level. So you have to have a buy-in by others, not just by the federal government.”

The transcript, attached to an email from the hacked account of John Podesta, the Clinton campaign’s chairman, was published on Friday by WikiLeaks.

“I think there is more conversation going on about this now, at least that I am aware of, of people talking about what can be done to decriminalize low-level offenses to try to avoid prison, to try to provide different kinds of support and diversionary measures to people who might be in need,” Clinton said in the meeting with BLM activists, which took place on October 9 of last year.

The email is one of a handful of messages from the hack that contain nuggets of interest for marijuana policy watchers.

Last week week, Marijuana.com was first to report on a message showing that the former secretary of state spoke out against legalizing marijuana behind closed doors in a paid speech at Xerox.

Another message showed that staffers suggested attacking primary campaign rival Martin O’Malley, a former Maryland governor, for evolving too slowly on supporting marijuana decriminalization, even though Clinton herself hasn’t yet clearly and publicly endorsed specific policies that would remove cannabis’s criminal penalties.

A third email contained an attachment laying out the campaign’s proposed talking points to use in response to anticipated Democratic primary debate questions about marijuana policy. That document also revealed Clinton’s position on cannabis businesses’ access to banking services.

WikiLeaks has been publishing batches of messages from Podesta’s email account on a daily basis. It has been estimated that only about 20 percent of the emails have been published so far.

Photo Courtesy of Allie Beckett.

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