Las Vegas, NV: Democrat presidential nominee Bernie Sanders said that he "would vote yes" on a pending statewide ballot measure to regulate the licensed production and retail sale of cannabis to adults.
Speaking at the inaugural Democrat presidential debate Tuesday in Las Vegas, Sen. Sanders (VT) was asked whether he would support a 2016 ballot proposal legalizing adult marijuana use and sales in Nevada.
He responded: "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 think through this war on drugs which has done an enormous amount of damage. We need to rethink our criminal justice system, we we’ve got a lot of work to do in that area."
Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said she was not yet ready to vote in favor of legalizing adult cannabis use, but that she was supportive of permitting states the opportunity to move forward with alternative policies. She also said that she supports efforts to legalize marijuana use for therapeutic purposes and acknowledged, "[W]e have got to stop imprisoning people who use marijuana." In separate remarks made the following day, she re-affirmed, "I would certainly not want the federal government to interfere with the legal decision made by the people" of a state that has legalized marijuana.
Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, who was not asked about his views on marijuana policy during the debate, has previously pledged to use executive authority to reschedule cannabis under federal law.
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, or Danielle Keane, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.