President Barack Obama tops the Marijuana Policy Project’s annual list of the most influential marijuana consumers this year, but he is not the only politician to make the cut.
According to MPP, at least eight 2016 presidential candidates have indicated that they have consumed marijuana and that number could be as high as 17. Just six candidates have explicitly denied using marijuana.
The eight candidates MPP reports “have said or strongly indicated that they have consumed marijuana” include Jeb Bush, Lincoln Chafee, Ted Cruz, George Pataki, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Bernie Sanders and Rick Santorum.
“In addition to potentially becoming our next president, these marijuana consumers are playing a major role in the national political dialogue,” Mason Tvert, spokesman for the pro-marijuana groups, said in a statement. “Win or lose, they are guiding the debate and influencing the positions of others both within and outside of their parties.”
Meanwhile nine candidates have remained mum and did not answer MPP’s inquiries about their marijuana use: Joe Biden, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Jim Gilmore, Lindsey Graham, John Kasich, Bobby Jindal, Martin O’Malley, and Jim Webb.
Just six candidates, MPP notes, have said they have never tried marijuana, including Hillary Clinton, Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry, Donald Trump, and Scott Walker.
“Of the nearly two dozen major-party candidates running for president, fewer than one-third are willing and able to admit they never used marijuana,” Tvert added. “And one of them is married to the fourth most influential marijuana consumer in America. Times have changed, and so have public attitudes toward marijuana.”
With so many confirmed (or potential) marijuana users in the field, MPP has placed the “2016 Presidential Hopefuls” in the second place slot in its list of the “Top 50 Most Influential Marijuana Consumers” in the U.S.
Coming in third place is Oprah, followed by Bill Clinton in fourth, and John Kerry in fifth. Other political notables on the list include Clarence Thomas (7th), George Soros (12th), Jon Stewart (13th), Bill Maher (14th), Rush Limbaugh (15th), Andrew Cuomo (16th), George W. Bush (18th), Gov. John Hickenlooper (30th), Gov. Charlie Baker (31st), Tom Brokaw (32nd), Michael Bloomberg (33rd), Glenn Beck (36th), and Al Gore (37th).
MPP notes that the criteria for inclusion on the list is simply that the individuals “must (1) be alive, (2) be a U.S. citizen, and (3) have consumed marijuana at least once in their life according to either their own account or that of a legitimate source. They do not need to currently consume marijuana or support marijuana policy reform.”