Rick Santorum Thinks Bernie Sanders’ Surge is Because He’s Gonna Legalize Drugs

   

Many cannabis law reform advocates and Drug War reformers have certainly rallied behind Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. The insurgent candidate has stated that he will consider legalizing marijuana; that states should be able to legalize without restrictions; he has called the Drug War a failure; and he has introduced a bill to abolish private prisons.

Apparently, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, a hard-right Christian fundamentalist who finished 2nd in the 2008 GOP primary, believes that Sanders statements and positions on marijuana and drug policy amount to legalizing all drugs. He also seems to believe that legalizing all drugs is very popular, feeding the surge in the polls for the anti-establishment candidate and fueling his large campaign rallies. You can see the video of Santorum’s statement here.

Now in Santorum’s defense, he is responding to a question from an audience member, so he’s speaking rather off-the-cuff and he also adds that Sanders says that he’s gonna “do all sorts of great stuff” (but what presidential candidate doesn’t promise great things). Additionally, Sanders did oppose the War on Drugs four decades ago and he has seen his poll numbers climb at the same time that he has continued to speak out for sensible Drug War reforms.

Despite finishing only behind Mitt Romney for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, Santorum has had a difficult time finding any traction at all in 2016 as he is polling around 1%; he is probably appalled that a newcomer like Donald Trump has dominated coverage. In contrast to Sanders’ huge crowds, Santorum famously had 1 person show up for one of his Iowa campaign stops. Santorum even went on the Bill Maher show to somehow increase his profile and then Maher had to correct the record two weeks after the conservative candidate provided some incorrect information regarding climate change during his live interview.

Many of us wish that Senator Sanders would call for an end to the Drug War, as it is a failed and harmful policy that has plagued our nation for far too long, but he hasn’t gone that far as a presidential candidate. There are many reasons why voters across the country, including a majority of Democratic primary voters in the early states of Iowa and New Hampshire, have decided that they support Bernie Sanders over the establishment candidate Hillary Clinton. We may #FeelTheBern and many of us say #NoMoreDrugWar, but Senator Sanders hasn’t joined us reformers in calling for a complete end to prohibition. We’ll probably have to wait for his 2nd term for that.

(Featured photo collage credit: John L. Micek)

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.