Politics

Clinton calls for loosening federal restrictions on marijuana

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 09: Former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks about Iran at the Brookings Institute September 9, 2015 in Washington, DC. Clinton spoke in favor of the Iran nuclear agreement and its implications for U.S. foreign policy and national security.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 09: Former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks about Iran at the Brookings Institute September 9, 2015 in Washington, DC. Clinton spoke in favor of the Iran nuclear agreement and its implications for U.S. foreign policy and national security. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton eased her position on marijuana restrictions during a town hall in South Carolina on Saturday, saying she supported a reclassification of the drug to make it easier to conduct research for medicinal purposes.

"A lot more states have passed medical marijuana than have legalized marijuana, so we've got two different experiences or even experiments going on right now," the Democratic presidential candidate said. "The problem with medical marijuana is that there's a lot of anecdotal evidence about how well it works for certain conditions, but we haven't done any research."

Clinton said that's because the drug is currently classified as a Schedule 1 substance, which includes drugs such as heroin, LSD and ecstasy.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) defines Schedule 1 drugs as those "with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse." But if it were lowered to a Schedule II classification, it would open the door for more legal research.

"Researchers at universities, at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), could start researching what's the best way to use it, how much of a dose does somebody need, how does it interact with other medications," she said.

Clinton told the town hall at Claflin University in Orangeburg, S.C., that she still doesn't support legalization of marijuana, but that the federal government should monitor states where it has been legalized to learn more.

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley said earlier this year he also supports reclassifying the drug as a Schedule II substance. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced a bill this week to end the federal ban on marijuana.

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