Author: Shernide Delva
If you watched the Democratic presidential debate, you saw five candidates tackle issues ranging from abortion, gun laws, climate control, and finally putting an end to the Hilary Clinton email debacle. Interestingly enough, recreational marijuana made its way into the discussion and Bernie Sanders and Hilary Clinton went head to head as they were the only two candidates who got an opportunity to weigh in on the subject.
Bernie Sanders’ Vote on Legalizing Marijuana
On Oct. 13, Bernie Sanders became the first presidential candidate from a major political party to say he would support the legalization of recreational marijuana if given the chance.
Bernie Sanders was asked hypothetically if he would vote to legalize marijuana if he were a citizen of Nevada. The question was prompted by Nevada’s upcoming ballot measure on legalizing recreational marijuana.
Berners replied, “I suspect I would vote yes.”
His answer resulted in a brief applause break before he continued on:
“And I would vote yes because I am seeing in this country, too many lives being destroyed for non-violent offenses. We have a criminal justice system that lets CEOs on Wall Street walk away, and yet we are imprisoning or giving jail sentences to young people who are smoking marijuana.
I think we have to think through this war on drugs, which has done an enormous amount of damage. We need to rethink our criminal justice system, and we have a lot of work to do on that.”
Hillary Clinton on Legalizing Marijuana
When the question was passed to Hillary Clinton, she gave a far less concise answer.
When asked if she would support recreational marijuana, Clinton said, “No. “
She continued –
“I think that we have the opportunity through the states that are pursuing recreational marijuana to find out a lot more than we know today.
I do support the use of medical marijuana and I think even there, we need to do a lot more research so that we know exactly how we’re going to help people for whom medical marijuana provides relief.”
To sum it up, Bernie Sanders supports marijuana because he feels that drugs are over criminalized and Hilary Clinton isn’t quite sure how she feels about marijuana being used recreationally but she is open to the idea of medical marijuana with more research to prove efficacy.
The tone of the responses shows how far the effort to legalize marijuana has come. Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority, said in an article how Sander’s comment was a major shift in direction for the way we view politics. He explained
“As a point of reference, in 2008 no major candidate even supported decriminalization when asked in a debate. […] Legalization is at the forefront of mainstream American politics, and politicians are starting to treat it as such.”
Many believe that Sanders won against Clinton on this portion of the debate on marijuana reform. The audience responded favorably to his opinion on marijuana legalization. However, this is not the first time Sanders has come out stating his opinion on the matter of decriminalizing marijuana. During a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” interview earlier this year, Bernie Sanders stated he was open to the use of medical marijuana and would look to Colorado to see how recreational marijuana legalization would play out over the course of a few years. Either way, only time will show how marijuana reform will play into the election within the next few months.
Although marijuana is becoming legal both recreationally and medically, it is important to remember that everyone handles drugs differently and if you feel you are falling into an addictive cycle, it does not matter if the drug is legal or not. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or alcoholism, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588