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George Bush

George W. Bush
George W. Bush
President, Republican incumbent


Decriminalization

President George W. Bush has not voiced support for the removal of criminal penalties for the possession of marijuana for personal use. To date, his administration has overseen more than 700,000 marijuana arrests per year, nearly 90 percent of which have been for simple possession only. In addition, the Bush administration has levied significant political pressure upon Canada's Parliament to persuade them to reject a federal proposal to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana in that country. The administration has also led an unprecedented domestic crackdown on businesses that sell glass pipes and other items associated with marijuana smoking, and handed down criminal indictments against their owners, including noted actor Tommy Chong.


Medical Marijuana

Bush is on record strongly opposing the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes, despite promising as a candidate in 2000 to let states decide the issue without federal interference. The Bush administration has launched numerous federal raids against medicinal marijuana patients and dispensaries in states that have legalized its use. In addition, administration officials have aggressively campaigned against local and state proposals seeking to protect patients who use marijuana as a medicine. The Bush administration has also appealed court decisions barring qualified patients from federal prosecution, and upholding a physician's right to discuss marijuana therapy with their patients.


Repealing the Drug Offender Exclusionary Provision from the Federal Higher Education Act

Under the Bush administration, the Department of Education has vigorously enforced a 1998 provision to the federal Higher Education Act (HEA) that bars convicted marijuana and drug offenders from receiving financial student aid. To date, more than 100,000 students have been adversely affected by the ban under the Bush presidency. Most recently, however, Bush has expressed a willingness to amend the ban, stating that he "proposes to fix the drug provision of the Higher Education Act so that incoming students who have a prior drug-related conviction would be able to receive Federal student aid, and only students convicted while in college would lose their eligibility for student aid." Such a change would benefit some, but not all of the students that are presently denied aid by the ban.


Industrial Hemp

Bush has not voiced support for allowing farmers to legally cultivate industrial hemp. In response to the question: "Does the President favor the legalization of industrial hemp?" posed at a July 16, 2001 White House briefing, a spokesman for Bush said the President has not made "any statements ... that would lend one to reach that conclusion." The Bush administration also backed efforts by the Drug Enforcement Administration to ban edible hemp foods. He received a failing grade on the Vote Hemp 2004 Presidential Candidate Report Card.


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