Comedian Ron White, best known for being the one guy from the Blue Collar Comedy Tour that people who don’t like the Blue Collar Comedy Tour will admit they like, has filed the necessary paperwork to enter the current presidential race as an independent candidate, and widespread legalization of marijuana is one of his chief concerns.
The 58-year-old comedian told Aol.com the inspiration to run came while White was “just sitting at home, watching [the debate] … asking myself, ‘Is this it? Are the best and the brightest running for president? I have to choose from these people?’” He also says he believes that his extensive touring across the United States gives him more insight into the lives and needs of American voters than many of the current crop of presidential hopefuls possess.
“For the last 30 years of my life, I’ve done nothing but non-stop touring across this country, back and forth, making these people laugh, eating with these people, drinking with these people. I know what they need, I know what they smoke, I know what they say, I know what hurts them, I know what they’re worried about.”
White’s two major concerns, and the platforms upon which he plans to build his campaign, are the treatment of veterans and the rise of methamphetamine use in the United States.
That’s where marijuana comes in. “What I’m talking about is the complete legalization of marijuana nationwide,” says White. “We take that money that we make from the taxation of that, and we build a big gun and we point it straight at meth.
“Meth is the thing that’s destroying this country.”
In 2008, White was arrested in Vero Beach, Florida, and charged with possession of marijuana after an anonymous tip led police to search White’s private plane and a search turned up less than three grams and a glass pipe.
White isn’t the only presidential candidate interested in making marijuana legal. On Nov. 4, 2015, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced the “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2015,” which would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level and allow states to decide whether they wanted to go ahead with legalization for recreational purposes.
On Nov. 7, 2015, Sanders’ competitor for the Democratic nomination, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, stated she saw reason for more research into the medicinal value of marijuana and also called for the drug to be reclassified as Schedule II.
According to Clinton, “Universities, [the] National Institutes of Health can start researching what is the best way to use it, how much of a dose does somebody need, how does it interact with other medications.”
Across the aisle, Republican candidate and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has long pushed legalization as a states-rights issue, and for reclassifying marijuana as a Schedule II narcotic.
While it remains to be seen if White will gain traction and be taken seriously as a candidate, he for the time being seems to be taking himself seriously.
“One thing you need to have is a passion for this country and a love of the American people, and I have those things,” White says. “For that reason, I would make a decent choice for president.”