63% of Colorado Democratic Voters Feel Legalization is Good, Boosting Bernie Sanders


Colorado appears to be one of the upcoming Super Tuesday states that  Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders can win over Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton and marijuana legalization may just help swing the state for Sanders. Cannabis law reformers have praised Sen. Sanders’ more progressive marijuana policy, particularly his call to end federal prohibition, a policy change that would have a dramatic impact upon the booming Colorado cannabis industry and the cannabis community across the country.

A recent Target Point Consulting poll, conducted on behalf of the Washington Free Beacon, made headlines when it found that likely Democratic caucus goers were supporting Bernie Sanders by a 6% margin, 49% to 43%. Winning in Colorado and other states outside of the Deep South is imperative for the anti-establishment Sanders as polling is finding that Clinton maintains a lead among African American voters that make up a large segment of Southern Democratic voters, although Sen. Sanders appears to be making progress with minority voters. Senator Sanders call to end marijuana prohibition and reform our drug laws may help him make inroads with African American voters, especially millennials, as our nation’s marijuana laws have been horrible for brown and black communities across the nation.

Tucked away in the Colorado polling is the enticing nugget that 63% of likely caucus goers stated that marijuana legalization was either “very good” or “somewhat good” for the state, with only 18% feeling that legalization was a bad policy. The Washington Free Beacon reported that Sanders is winning 58% of likely caucus goers that found cannabis legalization to be “very good” for Colorado while Clinton is winning 44% to 32% among those that consider legalization bad for the state. Ending federal prohibition would open up banking services to the cannabis industry and allow state-regulated marijuana businesses to conduct.

Also supporting the notion that marijuana legalization is generally good for Senator Sanders, there are positive signs in the other legalized states as well. Recent Alaska polling shows Sanders defeating Clinton by 14 points, 47.5% to 33.5%. There isn’t any recent polling out of Washington State, but The Seattle Times reported that an estimated 57,000 Evergreen State residents have contributed to Senator Sanders, compared to just about 6,000 to former Secretary of State Clinton. Oregon, which doesn’t vote until May 17th, also doesn’t have any polling to go by, but Nate Silver over at fivethirtyeight.com expects to see a big Sanders victory of over 20%, possibly over 30%.

Ending the federal war on marijuana has gone from a fringe issue to a major mainstream issue, thanks to national polling, statewide victories at the ballot box and a lot of credit has to go to Bernie Sanders himself, who has done a great job moving the Democratic debate more progressive on the issue. As Massachusetts, Maine, California and Arizona may be voting on legalization this November, Sanders’ sensible cannabis policy may provide him a boost in those prospective states as well. With the insurgent campaign of the Vermont Senator still looking strong, despite what some pundits may be spouting, every campaign advantage needs to be seized upon by the Sanders’ campaign and he, and his supporters, would be wise to continue to stress his more progressive cannabis policy as the nomination process continues.

Featured Photo Credit: Brent Lewis/Getty Images

Anthony Johnson

Anthony, a longtime cannabis law reform advocate, was Chief Petitioner and co-author of Measure 91, Oregon's cannabis legalization effort. He served as director of both the New Approach Oregon and Vote Yes on 91 PACs, the political action committees responsible for the state's legalization campaign. As director of New Approach Oregon, Anthony continues to work towards effectively implementing the cannabis legalization system while protecting small business owners and the rights of patients. He sits on the Oregon Marijuana Rules Advisory Committee and fights for sensible rules at the legislature as well as city councils and county commissions across the state. Anthony helps cannabis business comply with Oregon's laws and advises advocates across the country. He also serves as content director of both the International Cannabis Business Conference and the Oregon Marijuana Business Conference, helping share the vision of moving the cannabis industry forward in a way that maintains the focus on keeping people out of prison and protecting patients. He was a member of the Oregon Health Authority Rules Advisory Committee, assisting the drafting of the administrative rules governing Oregon’s state-licensed medical marijuana facilities. He first co-authored and helped pass successful marijuana law reform measures while a law student at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law. He passed the Oregon Bar in 2005 and practiced criminal defense for two years before transitioning to working full-time in the political advocacy realm. His blogs on Marijuana Politics are personal in nature and don't speak for or reflect the opinions of any group or organization.