Presidential Candidate Vivek Ramaswamy: Should Marijuana Be Legal Nationally? (The Answer Is Yes)

August 21, 2023

In a recent episode of Club Random by Bill Maher, released on August 20th, 2023, the spotlight was on Vivek Ramaswamy, a former pharmaceutical executive, entrepreneur, and candidate in the 2024 Republican Party presidential primaries.

The conversation covered a range of topics, but earlier in the podcast, the conversation started around cannabis legalization (as usual with Club Random) and Ramaswamy's views on the matter. The dialogue between Bill Maher and Vivek Ramaswamy shed light on their perspectives and the broader implications of aligning federal law with state cannabis regulations.

Guest Profile: Vivek Ramaswamy

Born to Indian immigrant parents in Cincinnati, Vivek Ramaswamy's journey to becoming a prominent figure in business and politics is marked by academic excellence and entrepreneurial spirit. A graduate of Harvard College with a degree in biology and a J.D. from Yale Law School, Ramaswamy's career path led him to become an investment partner at a hedge fund before founding Roivant Sciences, a biotech company, in 2014.

His recent venture, Strive Asset Management, opposes environmental, social, and corporate governance initiatives. Ramaswamy's political ambition was highlighted when he declared his candidacy for the Republican Party's presidential nomination in the 2024 election.

A Focus on Cannabis

One of the conversations Bill and Vivek had revolved around the topic of marijuana legalization. Maher and Ramaswamy engaged in a candid discussion about their views on whether cannabis should be legalized nationally. The exchange offered a glimpse into Ramaswamy's perspective and his stance on federal versus state laws.

The conversation started with Ramaswamy acknowledging that he tries to avoid having too many vices. The conversation then turned to the legalization of marijuana:

Bill: But, do you think it, marijuana, should be legal nationally?

Vivek: I think we should align the federal law with the state law, I think it undermines the rule of law.

Bill: Does that mean yes?

Vivek: Yes, that means yes, absolutely. It’s a joke. It’s a farce.

Bill: It’s a joke that I have to look up when I’m going to a state, and by the way I don’t even do it anymore because I figure if they gonna get me in Oklahoma for having this (weed) with me, they will be the ones who will be embarrassed, not me.

Vivek: Also, here is the thing though, when you have different standards of law, when you have that ‘look the other way and sweep it under the rug’ that’s when you actually get an unfair state that can target people for saying the wrong thing, or thinking the wrong thing. I don’t like what you did here, I gotta throw the statute book at you, and we gonna start doing something that we otherwise don’t charge...

Bill: Historically racist.

Vivek: Absolutely, this is part of our past. Today, political discrimination I think is a new equivalent for the unfairness of the law that we’ve seen in racism decades and centuries passed.

Bill Maher chimed in, emphasizing the need to address the present and not let the mistakes of the past overshadow the progress made. He acknowledged that racism still exists today, and both agreed on the importance of continuing the fight against it.


The episode of Club Random featuring Vivek Ramaswamy provided listeners with a thought-provoking conversation about the legalization of marijuana and its broader societal implications.

The candid exchange between Maher and Ramaswamy highlighted the complexities of aligning federal and state laws and the potential consequences of differing legal standards. As the political landscape continues to evolve, conversations like these shed light on the diverse perspectives that shape our policies and discussions.

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