Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky received the highest grade among more than 20 declared and potential 2016 presidential candidates in a voter guide released Friday by a marijuana policy group, while New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania fared the worst.
Mr. Paul, received a grade of “A-” from the Marijuana Policy Project. The group said his grade was based largely on his sponsorship of a medical marijuana bill, support for reducing marijuana-related penalties and support for allowing states to regulate marijuana for adult use.
Mr. Christie and Mr. Santorum, meanwhile, two other GOP contenders, both received a grade of “F” “because they oppose reform efforts and they are the most vocal supporters of enforcing federal prohibition laws in states that have made marijuana legal,” the group said.
“Some of these guys who tout states’ rights, fiscal responsibility, and getting the government out of people’s private lives want to use federal tax dollars to punish adults for using marijuana in states that have made it legal,” said Mason Tvert, a spokesman for the group. “They say using marijuana is immoral or just too dangerous to allow, but serve alcohol, a more dangerous substance, at their fundraisers. The hypocrisy is astonishing.”
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry scored the second best among Republicans with a “B,” with the group citing his stated support for reducing penalties for marijuana possession.
On the Democratic side, former Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia and former Rhode Island Gov. and U.S. Sen. Lincoln Chafee fared the best with a grade of “B+.” The group cited Mr. Webb’s stated support for overhauling the criminal justice reform system and Mr. Chafee’s signing a marijuana decriminalization into law in 2013.
Former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton got a “B-,” with the group citing a willingness to support more research into potential benefits of medical marijuana.
Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. was the lowest among Democrats with a “D.” The group cited his spearheading legislation to create a federal “drug czar” and mandatory minimum sentencing for marijuana-related offenses.