While never making marijuana policy a major part of his policy platform in the past, it seemed likely that the progressive Sanders would be a supporter of sensible marijuana laws. Researching his stances, as much as forty years ago, and the fact that his home state of Vermont has been one of the most progressive states on marijuana policy (especially among states without the initiative process), many marijuana law reformers have held out hope that Sanders would be a leader on ending the War on Cannabis. Sanders’ previous statements regarding marijuana have hinted that he would be announcing a progressive cannabis policy, and his most recent comments in an interview to run on Fusion and Univision on Sunday are his strongest to date. In the interview, he admitted to smoking marijuana in his youth and he criticized laws that severely punish nonviolent drug offenders. Most exciting to cannabis law reformers is the fact that the interview makes clear that Bernie Sanders will consider legalizing marijuana if elected president.
Back on May 3rd, I published a blog asking, “Will Bernie Sanders Become the Cannabis Candidate?” With all due respect to Rand Paul, I think that the answer is a resounding “Yes.” If you MUST vote in the Republican Primary, then I definitely recommend Rand Paul and if you are inclined to vote 3rd party, Governor Gary Johnson (with his VP candidate Judge Jim Gray) on the Libertarian ticket and the Green Party candidate (Jill Stein, most likely) are fine choices. But among the mainstream candidates with any legitimate shot of winning the presidency, Bernie Sanders is the right choice for the cannabis community.
Drug War policies that have eroded our constitutional rights as the governmental search, seizure and snooping powers that law enforcement has deemed necessary to fight the War on Drugs have expanded into virtually all aspects of our lives. This loss of privacy has only been exacerbated by the War on Terror and we are in danger of losing even more privacy and rights each and every time we face a new threat or fight a new war. Sanders will not only be a great candidate on marijuana and the greater Drug War, but he is proven to be very wise in avoiding unnecessary wars as he opposed both the Vietnam War and the Iraq War. Bernie Sanders has been climbing in the polls and he has a real chance of winning the presidency, especially if he continues to fundraise well and American voters learn more about his policies. Don’t let the mainstream media or even your friends and family convince you that Bernie can’t win; if Sanders can win Iowa and New Hampshire, he can defeat the Hillary Clinton machine in the Democratic Primary and shock the political system, but he needs our help. At this point, don’t feel like we should settle for the “lesser of two evils”, instead #FeelTheBern and do what you can to support a true progressive presidential candidate.