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WikiLeaks Shows Clinton Is Prepped For Pot Talk

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange participates via video link at a news conference marking the 10th . [+] anniversary of the secrecy-spilling group in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

The marijuana community has been very interested in what presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had to say about legalization in the latest dump of John Podesta emails.

WikiLeaks has been releasing several batches of hacked emails from the campaign manager, which have proven to be a treasure trove of information regarding the running of the campaign. Marijuana Majority’s Tom Angell has painstakingly mined the emails for any insight as to Clinton’s behind the scenes thoughts on the legalization of marijuana.

Clinton to date has been very cautious as to her position on legalizing marijuana. She says she supports medical marijuana and believes that the decision rests with each state. When it comes to recreational marijuana, she’s on the record as saying she’ll wait and see how things go in Colorado before drawing a conclusion. From these emails, it seems she and her staff were making sure she was ready with quick answers if the subject came up during the campaign.

She got an offer of help on the issue from Congressman Earl Blumenauer of Oregon. In one email she writes, “He wants to support me on policy and fundraising specifically by helping on how to talk about marijuana and the need for fair taxes and banking on animal welfare concerns, which he say are sleeper issues that will turn out young people and motivate voters.” She added, “He has a lot of ideas about what I could do which would be the first time these interests are organized for a presidential campaign, and several states, NV OH and FL will have marijuana initiatives in 2016.”

In another email, Podesta formulated answers in case Clinton was asked about banking for marijuana businesses. He wrote, “ If pressed: what about marijuana banking restrictions – should we let marijuana businesses access banking services?”

The suggested answer was I do think these businesses – if they are operating in according with state law, and with federal guidelines – should be able to access banking services. I know that the Obama Administration has taken steps in this direction, and I think those steps are smart.” Or she could say, “Not having access to banking services can force legal and licensed businesses to deal in cash, making their stores a target for theft. Cash-only operations also are more difficult to audit. I will continue to evaluate the steps the Administration had taken, to determine if we should go further.”

Angell said that he has had to sift through attachments to the Podesta emails in order to find the various bits and pieces related to marijuana. “What we’ve seen so far is that marijuana is now a mainstream political issue, which campaigns need to take seriously. To see these presidential campaign staffers spending so much time figuring out what the best way for the candidate to talk about this issue really shows how far this debate has come.”

Angell found within the Podesta emails that Clinton seemed open to decriminalization. During a Black Lives Matter meeting, a transcript has her saying, “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.” The organizer of the meeting had asked Clinton about removing criminal penalties for marijuana crimes and sex work.

Clinton went on to say, “I support the idea of it (marijuana decriminalization), 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.” That meeting took place on Oct. 9.

There was one event in the emails where Clinton was against the idea of legalization, but the majority show she was willing to discuss the subject.

Angell is clear that he’s a legalization advocate and on a personal level would love to have the president support legalization. “The most important thing we need from the next occupant of the oval office is for that person to simply keep the federal government out of the way and let the states proceed. I think we’re in a good position right now with both Clinton and Trump about respecting state laws.”

Hacked WikiLeak emails show Hillary Clinton was well-prepped to talk about the legalization of marijuana.