Presidential races

Fiorina: States should have right to legalize pot

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GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina on Tuesday said states should have the right to legalize marijuana.

Fiorina said she is personally opposed to legalizing the drug but said the decision by voters in Colorado and Washington state should be respected. Stressing her belief in states’ rights, she noted those voters might later change their minds.

{mosads}”I don’t support legalized marijuana for a whole host of reasons, including the fact that this is a very complex chemical substance, and when we tell young people it is just like drinking a beer, we are not telling them the truth,” she said.  

“But I think Colorado voters made a choice, I don’t support their choice, but I do support their right to make that choice.” 

The former CEO of Hewlett-Packard is currently in 13th place in the crowded GOP field, according to a RealClearPolitics average of recent polls. The only female Republican candidate, Fiorina’s campaign has touted her ability to engage with Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton on tough issues.

Fiorina talked about addiction in the interview after being asked to comment on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) remark on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that he would step up federal enforcement of marijuana laws in states that have voted to legalize it.

Recounting her stepdaughter’s battle with addiction, Fiorina said the country needs to reassess the criminal penalties for drug crimes. 

“This is something that hits really close to home to me, and when we incarcerate people for abuse of drugs, we are not helping them,” she said Tuesday on “Fox and Friends.” 

“We do have to have a different approach to addictions of all kinds.”

Fiorina’s stepdaughter, Lori, died in 2009 at 35 years old after struggles with addiction. The candidate recounts her story in her book, Rising to the Challenge, where she compares Lori’s unfulfilled potential to that of American voters. 

Drug addiction has become a focus for many of the White House contenders. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), for example, recently sponsored a bill to expand access to an opioid addiction medication.

Clinton brought up drug abuse during a campaign stop in Iowa, where she said it was “tearing families apart.” She and her aides have also held Google Hangouts and Facebook conversations on the issue.

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