Bernie Sanders Wins New Hampshire, Cannabis Community and Civil Libertarians Can Rejoice


Bernie Sanders was immediately declared the winner of the New Hampshire primary, once the polls closed, becoming the first presidential primary candidate to win a state after supporting cannabis legalization. Once considered to have no shot at all, the anti-establishment underdog can certainly be considered a viable candidate after defeating one of the most powerful political campaigns imaginable. As was the case in Iowa, young voters overwhelmingly supported Senator Sanders over the former Secretary of State.

While the ultimate margin won’t be known for a while, New Hampshire won’t be a late-night nail biter that the Iowa caucus turned out to be. Hillary Clinton conceded immediately after the polls closed as Sanders had a ten point lead that seemed to continue climbing. Now, the question remains whether Bernie Sanders can translate a strong New Hampshire victory into more support among brown and black voters that make up larger proportions of more diverse states such as Nevada and South Carolina. The anti-establishment Sanders will continue making the case as to why his policies are better better for minorities, both on economics and on criminal justice.

African-American communities have been especially decimated by the disastrous War on Drugs and people of color are disproportionately incarcerated. Bernie Sanders is clearly the more progressive candidate on criminal justice reform and he has already introduced legislation that would end marijuana prohibition and prohibit the use of federal private prisons. Additionally, his racial justice platform includes many important reforms, including restoration of the voting rights; the demilitarization of police forces; requirement of body cameras; and automatically triggering a federal Justice Department investigation when someone dies in police custody.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign has tried to spin New Hampshire as a case of home-state advantage, but that argument doesn’t really hold water when the former First Lady enjoys such strong name recognition and won the state’s primary just eight years ago. Clinton has made the case that Democratic primary voters should choose the more pragmatic candidate, with supposedly a better chance at winning the general election.

Granite State voters, with the state motto “Live Free or Die” chose the passion and idealism of Bernie Sanders and potentially they may have seen the polls showing that Bernie Sanders actually fares better than Hillary Clinton against Republican frontrunners Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. We shall see whether primary voters will continue to #FeelTheBern or say #HillYes as the campaign proceeds.

Bernie Sanders emailed supporters after his historic New Hampshire victory:

Nine months ago, if you told somebody that we would win the New Hampshire primary, they would not have believed you. Not at all. Too bold, they would have said. Not enough money to compete against the billionaires.

You showed them tonight. Add your contribution now and we will win the Democratic primary, the White House, and reclaim our democracy from the billionaire class.

In solidarity,

Bernie Sanders

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.