One of the key issues in this election will be marijuana legalization — and Bernie Sanders is getting the attention of those who say it’s time. He’s addressed the U.S. “war on drugs” a few times already, and it looks as though groups fighting for the right to toke are beginning to move in his support. Added to other key support Sanders has received, this may be a deciding factor in this election.
Bernie Sanders’ official policy on drugs, as expressed on his campaign site, is that the war on drugs is the new prohibition, and like the previous one, it has failed. He cites votes for medical legalization, and against military force in preventing drug trafficking.
He calls the current laws ineffective and a means to imprison nonviolent offenders, and for addiction, he proposes access to treatment, rather than punishment. Aside from medical use, Sanders has a cautious approach on marijuana: he says he’d want to observe how things go in states that have legalized recreational use like Colorado, and move forward accordingly — in due time.
Sanders has spoken publicly about his longstanding feeling that marijuana is a low priority — according to the Denver Post, he has said that police “[have] more important things to do” than making arrests for drug use.
The result is that a number of tokers and right-to-tokers are throwing their support behind Bernie. The Marijuana Politics site has posted enthusiastic and hopeful reports of his stance, including when he recently said that minimum sentencing and imprisoning people for marijuana use had to end.
The site hasn’t explicitly endorsed Bernie Sanders over other candidates — they’ve also reported on promises regarding legalization by Ted Cruz and others. Still, it’s clear that he’s one of the central focus points for those who hope to see prohibition end again.
The Cannabist, another plant-centric magazine, also stopped short of endorsing Bernie Sanders, but said,
In the coming months? What is Sanders sitting on? It’s impossible to say, though he certainly has our attention.
In a High Times poll, Bernie Sanders came out on top, with 35 percent of participants saying he was their choice for president. Rand Paul, who has also courted the legalize-it vote, trailed at 23 percent, and in third place, Hillary Clinton tied with “none of the above” for 16 percent.
Sanders has also been a talking point in /r/trees — the Reddit community dedicated to marijuana. Though the sub usually avoids politics, legalization is a pretty key topic, and Sanders seems to be front and center on that stage.
Rand Paul certainly has a fair share of the vote from those who seek to end prohibition, but increasingly it appears that Bernie Sanders is the first choice for marijuana legalization advocates.
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