Bernie Sanders and Hilary Clinton, both 2016 US Presidential hopefuls, took the microphone to speak out about their views on federal legalization of cannabis during CNN and Facebook’s Democratic Presidential Debate held October 13, 2015.

As far as adult-use, Clinton still believes that we should “watch-and-wait”, hinting that that one year and only a couple of states does not provide sufficient evidence to switch to a more supportive stance. However, she did state that while she does support the legalization of cannabis for medicinal purposes, there too needs to be more research about the true effects of cannabis as a treatment. Stating, “This is only the beginning.” A positive sign, in my opinion, that she sees a vast expansion of the legalized cannabis market in the coming years.

Sanders’ position was the first time that a presidential candidate publicly supported legalization of adult-use cannabis for recreational purposes. While this is another very positive sign that our government is warming up to the potential of full, federal legalization, the logic behind Sanders’ response speaks louder than his “suspect” vote for a completely hypothetical situation. Sanders revealed his own thoughts about cannabis prohibition citing the imbalance of our current justice system, “…that lets CEOs on Wall Street walk away, and yet we are imprisoning or giving jail sentences to young people who are smoking marijuana.”

The issue of cannabis prohibition has unveiled a larger civil rights issue here in the United States that both Clinton and Sanders agree upon, and many other politicians finally speaking out about similar views. The war on drugs has caused an “enormous amount of damage”, stated Sanders, and it could be this larger issue that helps promote more focus on the repealing prohibition at a federal level. The number of people serving jail time for non-violent drug offenses is just too high in this country and perversions within the criminal justice system are blatantly stacked against lower-income populations thus creating a racial injustice that is proven to be statistically significant.


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