Bernie Sanders Calls Stigmatizing Americans for Marijuana an Obscenity


Cannabis law reformers have held great hope that Senator Bernie Sanders would be a candidate that would call for an end to failed and harmful policy of marijuana prohibition. The Vermont Senator had decried the War on Drugs decades ago and held progressive views on just about every position; reforming U.S. marijuana laws and the greater Drug War seemed in-line with his liberal agenda.

At first, there were merely hints from Sanders that he would divulge his marijuana policy in the future. Next, the anti-establishment candidate kept making progressive statements regarding marijuana prohibition and the greater Drug War.

Eventually, Senator Sanders was willing to state that he would be inclined to vote for Nevada’s marijuana legalization measure during a Democratic debate in Las Vegas; frontrunner Hillary Clinton declined the opportunity to state her support for legalization. Finally, Senator Sanders introduced legislation that would remove marijuana from the list of controlled substances, a bill that would effectively end federal cannabis prohibition.

While cannabis law reformers have to be pleased by the positions taken by Sanders, it is still refreshing to see him reaffirming his commitment in follow-up statements. Most recently, Sanders has taken to Facebook to demonstrate his inclination to improve our failed drug policy.

Cannabis law reformers have long (rightfully) complained about politicians unwilling to tackle the absurdity of marijuana prohibition. Now, we have a candidate that not only has called for an end to cannabis prohibition, but has also called the entire Drug War a failure. Conventional wisdom has considered Senator Sanders a long-shot to win the Democratic nomination, but he is within striking distance of winning the Iowa caucus and is the favorite to win the New Hampshire primary. Sanders’ fundraising success will provide him the ammunition to be very competitive as the primary race moves along, especially if he can win both Iowa and New Hampshire, but he will need our help.

Please keep up the vocal support of Sanders online and in person. If you are able, send Sanders a contribution, even if it is just a few dollars. You can join a record-breaking campaign that is even exceeding the remarkable grassroots support enjoyed by Barack Obama’s early primary campaign, when he challenged the so-called “inevitable” candidacy of Hillary Clinton. If we do our part, then ending cannabis prohibition at the federal level will no longer be just a dream that is spouted on social media, it can be our new reality.

It is an obscenity that we stigmatize so many young Americans with a criminal record for smoking marijuana, but not one…

Posted by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders on Saturday, January 2, 2016


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.