Bernie Sanders has not thrown his support in favor of fully legalized marijuana just yet, but dropped a lot of hints during a question and answer session on Reddit.
Sanders did say that he supports the decriminalization of recreational marijuana in his home state of Vermont. He also gave insight into the priority of arresting people for use of the drug while he was mayor of Burlington, VA.
“When I was mayor of Burlington, in a city with a large population, I can tell you very few people were arrested for smoking marijuana. Our police had more important things to do.”
The decriminalization of the possession of small amounts of marijuana has Bernie Sanders’ stamp of approval. Sanders also said that he has supported the use of medical marijuana.
In an interview with TIME in March 2014, Bernie Sanders said that he did not see the legalization of marijuana as “one of the major issues facing this country.”
Bernie Sanders also openly said that he had used the drug a couple of times when he was younger.
While Sanders left the door open on his immediate stance regarding full legalization of marijuana, he did end by saying that he would have more to say in coming months.
Until then, Bernie Sanders said he will look to Colorado very closely to see what the effects of the change in policy have been.
“Colorado has led the effort toward legalizing marijuana and I’m going to watch very closely to see the pluses and minuses of what they have done.”
Support for legalization is larger than ever in the United States. With over half of Americans polled in 2014 responding that the use of marijuana should be legal, support from Bernie Sanders for reform could lead to a bump in popularity.
Bernie Sanders’ home state of Vermont is one of 23 states to legalize marijuana for medical purposes, and one of 19 to have decriminalized possession of small amounts of the drug.
At least 10 states, Vermont included, are expected to consider the legalization of marijuana by 2016.
In an interview with the Huffington Post, Tom Angell, chairman of the drug policy reform group Marijuana Majority, revealed his expectations of the stance that Bernie Sanders will ultimately take.
“Reading between the lines, it seems to me like he’s getting ready to endorse full legalization soon. A growing majority of voters supports marijuana reform, and more candidates are starting to recognize that it makes good political sense to court the cannabis constituency instead of criminalize us.”
Bernie Sanders is continuing to gain momentum as a candidate in the 2016 presidential race, with policies like his “College For All Act” that was introduced just days ago already getting traction.
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