Juan Carlos Lopez who works for CNN asked Bernie Sanders whether he would support Nevada’s 2016 ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana in the state of Nevada, Senator, and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders replied with “I suspect I would vote yes”
Sanders’ answer is very important because it is recognized as the first time a 2016 candidate has openly expressed support for legalizing recreational and not just medical marijuana. Bernie Sanders was asked earlier this year on Reddit about his stance on marijuana, Sanders stated that he supported marijuana decriminalization as well as medical marijuana. He also implied that he would have more to say in coming months on the topic.
His response at last night’s debate may hint at what his future policy proposals may include. The full question and response is below:
LOPEZ: Senator Sanders, right here in Nevada, there will be a measure to legalize recreational marijuana on the 2016 ballot. You’ve said you smoked marijuana twice; it didn’t quite work for you. If you were a Nevada resident, how would you vote?
SANDERS: I suspect I would vote yes.
And I would vote yes because I am seeing in this country too many lives being destroyed for non-violent offenses. We have a criminal 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.
I think we have to work through this war on drugs which has done an enormous amount of damage. We need
to rethink our criminal justice system, we’ve got a lot of work to do in that area.
Hillary Clinton gave a recap on her previous vow to take a “wait-and-see” approach when it comes to recreational marijuana. Hillary Clinton was faced with the question if she was ready to take a position on state-level recreational pot at the debate, Clinton replied with an emphatic “No.”
She added, “I think that we have the opportunity through the states that are pursuing recreational marijuana to find out a lot more than we know today. I do support the use of medical marijuana, and I think even there we need to do a lot more research so that we know exactly how we’re going to help people for whom medical marijuana provides relief.”
The other candidates on state, Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee, were not given a chance to respond to any cannabis related questions. O’Malley has stated he supports loosening federal marijuana laws.
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