Bernie Sanders, the Great Liberal Hope for left-leaning Democrats looking forward to next year’s presidential election, finally declared that he’s in favor of marijuana legalization.

During last night’s Democratic debate in Las Vegas, CNN’s Juan Carlos Lopez asked the senator from Vermont if he would vote in favor of Nevada’s own recreational legalization initiative if he could.

“I suspect I would vote yes,” he said. The crowd went wild. He continued:

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, we we’ve got a lot of work to do in that area.

It’s the first time a serious presidential candidate vying to be elected in 2016 has supported recreational legalization. Sanders previously expressed support for both decriminalization and recreational pot.

Tom Angell, Chairman of the Marijuana Majority, said:

This is the first time we’ve seen a major candidate for president say he’d probably vote for legalizing marijuana if given the chance. That says a lot about how far the politics on this issue have shifted in a very short amount of time. As a point of reference, in 2008 no major candidate even supported decriminalization when asked in a debate, and our movement had to chase them around New Hampshire and repeatedly harass them just to garner pledges to stop federal raids on state-legal medical marijuana patients. Legalization is at the forefront of mainstream American politics, and politicians are starting to treat it as such.

National Cannabis Industry Association executive director Aaron Smith said:

Despite differing specifics on marijuana policy, nearly every presidential candidate – Democrat and Republican – has now offered support for the continuation of state policy reforms. Given that the 2016 election is likely to result in several new states with legal medical or adult-use marijuana programs, that’s a critical piece of progress.

In other words, woo-hoo!

One Response

Leave a Reply