Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an independent 2024 presidential candidate, says the U.S. needs to “legalize pot to end addiction.”
In a campaign ad that pulls clips from a September C-SPAN interview, Kennedy describes his plan to federally legalize marijuana and earmark tax revenue for substance misuse treatment and rehabilitation.
The candidate, who launched his campaign as a Democrat before switching to independent last month, said he wants to build that infrastructure “as part of my presidency,” adding that the “renewal centers of detoxification” will help address “the rise of mental illness and PTSD and drug addiction that is debilitating our children.”
“We need to start healing our country in many ways,” Kennedy said. Beyond legalizing and taxing marijuana, he called for reform to ensure that cannabis businesses are able to “actually bank their profits and their revenues,” rather than operating on a largely cash-only basis that “encourages more crime.”
If marijuana is taxed more “robustly,” that would enable the country to “pay for the addiction treatment for our children,” he said.
— Robert F. Kennedy Jr (@RobertKennedyJr) November 2, 2023
The son of former Attorney General Robert Kennedy and nephew of President John F. Kennedy has previously disclosed that he’s personally struggled with addiction to other substances for 15 years in his youth. And while he’s expressed concerns about “the proliferation of stimulants and mind-altering substances,” he also said he believes in “personal freedoms” and considers the current policy of criminalizing and incarcerating people over drugs to be untenable.
Since entering the presidential race in April, Kennedy has repeatedly promoted his comprehensive drug policy agenda, which he’s previously said would also involve legalizing and taxing certain psychedelics.
After Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said in June that he would not move to decriminalize cannabis if he were elected to the White House, drawing criticism from both sides, Kennedy shared on social media a Marijuana Moment article about DeSantis’s comments and contrasted them with his own agenda.
Also that month, he discussed his own 40 years of sobriety during an interview on the podcast “Club Random with Bill Maher,” declining Maher’s offer to smoke with him on the show. He didn’t appear to mind the host’s indulgence over the course of the chat, however.
Image element courtesy of Gage Skidmore.