`GOP presidential candidates are by and large staying away from the debate marijuana legalization, an issue once embraced by Republican occupants of the White House.
They have stayed largely silent as support for legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana has gained public support.
Fifty-three percent of adults nationwide say marijuana should be legal while 43 percent say the opposite, according to CBS News poll from April.
A Pew Research Center poll from March found a similar margin.
Colorado, Washington State, Oregon and Alaska have legalized marijuana for recreational use while another five will vote on the question in 2016.
Only New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and long-shot candidate Rick Santorum support a federal crackdown on state policies legalizing cannabis, which is still classified as a Schedule I drug — the most dangerous category, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency.
Christie delivered residents of Colorado, which passed a legalization initiative in 2012, a blunt warning earlier this summer.
“If you’re getting high in Colorado today, enjoy it. As of January 2017, I will enforce the federal laws. That’s lawlessness,” he said.
Other candidates have soft-pedaled the issue, preferring to focus on the economy, the federal deficit, national security and immigration.