Democrats, Debate and Marijuana Legalization: Sanders ‘Yes’; Clinton ‘No’, But…

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director October 13, 2015

    Teased out by CNN host Anderson Cooper’s comment about ‘everyone in the room having probably smoked pot before’, American voters were informed by a question from CNN el Espanol’s Juan Carlos Lopez to Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders about the state’s pending cannabis legalization initiative that will be on the 2016 ballot in Nevada (the state where the debate was being held), and whether or not if he were a Nevadan that he’d vote to support legalization.

    Senator Sanders indicated that he ‘suspected he would vote for the measure’ and went on to enumerate numerous problems with America’s so-called ‘war on drugs’ and the criminal justice system in general.

    Mr. Lopez did a follow up question with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, referencing an earlier CNN interview, where she indicated that she never tried marijuana and was not about to do so now. She further said in the previous CNN interview recorded one year earlier that she was still waiting to formulate a policy position based on the pro-reform actions of the four states and the District of Columbia in favor of legalization, Mr. Lopez pressed her if she was yet going to take a position ‘for’ or ‘against’ what she called ‘state experiments’. Mrs. Clinton’s reply, ‘No.’

    However, Mrs. Clinton indicated that she supports states’ ability to create cannabis law reforms, that much can be learned from these states’ efforts; she supports medical access to cannabis; that she agreed with Senator Sanders that cannabis consumers should not be incarcerated in America’s over wrought criminal justice system.

    15 responses to “Democrats, Debate and Marijuana Legalization: Sanders ‘Yes’; Clinton ‘No’, But…”

    1. Raven says:

      Mr. Lopez did a follow up question with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, referencing an earlier CNN interview, where she indicated that she never tried marijuana and was not about to do so now. – See more at: http://blog.norml.org/2015/10/13/democrats-debate-and-marijuana-legalization-sanders-yes-clinton-no-but.

      “but no…. This response from HRC reaks of pandering and placation. Sanders is (at t least) being honest.
      Whereas Hillary is displaying the normal (political) prohibitionist stance (do as I say, not as I do)


      In ohtherwords , I do not trust any of them..

      Let’s keep in mind that Bill had a nose like a Hover. And, that Hillary probably had her share of the “devil weed.

    2. Miles says:

      If we get the chance, I’ll give Mr. Sanders my vote!

      Mrs. Clinton doesn’t seem to care much about this extremely important issue; you know, many thousands of good American lives being ruined over a relatively safe plant. In the past year, I don’t think she has paid any attention to it and all the damage that prohibition has caused. She really needs to be all over legalization if she wants to win and show that she is a real leader.

    3. Hemppottomus says:

      Who was really surprised that the legalization issue came and went without too much brow raising fashion? It’s great to hear Bernie support it with his vote, but one can’t help but wonder how words now will translate into actions later. We all know that Obama made some promises on not raiding dispensaries before taking office. Should Bernie get the vote let’s hope he takes executive action to promote progress if Obama doesn’t accomplish more before his exit.

      The green rush is really the avalanche of momentum (along with eye opening truths of its cancer killing properties) that will make sure NO ONE rolls back the progress. Hillary’s “wait and see” stance is unacceptable considering California has catered to medical marijuana patients for almost two decades now. With millennia of traditional medicinal use on top of that – the stalling seriously hurts her chances with those who want legalization now.

      With Ohio showing great polling for the passing of Issue 3, and the slew of states following right behind it’s very exciting! The voter initiatives really show a unity of the people that should shame our congress for not taking a more active role. At the very least Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) needs to be called out on what was truly a hilarious rant on the dangers of medical marijuana. Ideas like this most certainly cement his resignation with ignorance of this magnitude.

      Jeff Sessions – Asking for you to no longer vote for him!

      Certainly can’t forget to thank the National Institutes of Health | National Cancer Institute | AKA: http://WWW.CANCER.GOV


      While most of the patient information is about how illegal it is. Below is a direct quote from the link above.
      “Cannabis has been shown to kill cancer cells in the laboratory(see Question 6).”

      While some will swear by this anecdotally it’s great to see what many claim to have known for years, formally confirmed by the government. This also creates a direct contradiction with the scheduling of this substance since it clearly has medicinal properties. It’s past time for action on the federal level.

      We’re so close! Thanks NORML – Thanks to everyone who fights the good fight. Don’t forget to check what your action you state is/isn’t taking by visiting http://www.norml.org/act

      Share this with your friends, family, everyone! Cannabis is medicine!

    4. Todd says:

      I looked at this link, thanks Hemppottomus.

      “At this time, there is not enough evidence to recommend that patients inhale or ingest Cannabis as a treatment for cancer-related symptoms or side effects of cancer therapy”.

      I have read hundreds of testimonials expressing the medical value of weed on NORML and other webpages, especially by veterans and chronic pain sufferers. People are too scared to come out unless they remain anonymous. Mainstream journalists, social service people, and the patients are afraid of the justice system and losing their jobs and freedoms.

    5. Matthew says:

      There’s nothing funny about Senator Sessions’ bullying and machinations against America and our US Constitution.

    6. Evening Bud says:

      @ Hemppottomus

      I definitely understand your wariness on the candidates’ words. However, while I was completely disappointed with Hillary’s response, I am a bit hopeful with Bernie’s.

      I have less distrust of him on this issue, as he is an outspoken advocate for reducing the prison population, particularly in regard to minorities. I don’t see him being a person who would especially lead a cannabis “revolution,” but it is possible, in my opinion, that he might actually go further than has Obama on the issue of legalization (or at least continue Obama’s practice of not obstructing state legalization).

    7. RUT says:

      At least Hillary left the door open to the issue and acted like the jury is still out on cannabis for recreational use. It does not sound like she is going to have the pot stores raided by the feds like BUSH.My stomach rolls when the politicians try and play stupid on purpose.
      ‘WELL WE JUST DO NOT KNOW THAT MUCH ABOUT THIS PLANT THAT IS THOUSAND OF YEARS OLD AND ITS OIL WAS FOUND IN EVERY PHARMACY IN AMERICA IN THE 1800’S. We just need to keep arresting people while we find out about this plant. The prisons for profit that our sleazy politicians are in bed with need to be kept 90% full and pot arrest help them work toward that number.

    8. Anonymous says:

      Hillary needs the Police voter, the PTA voter, and big Pharma money. She’s not going to trade those for the Marijuana non voter.

    9. Julian says:

      Bernie gets my vote.

      What is important here is not so much that a future president will issue an executive order, which most certainly would end up in court prematurely unless California gets us over the legalization hump of electorates, but that we are even having a national presidential debate about marijuana legalization at all is inspiring and politically effective before Congressional votes next year. Its the thought of crooked prohibitionist Congressman squirming in their seats at the thought of these questions and answers before millions of American voters that makes me smile and exhale proudly… And reassures my confidence in the victory of Good over Evil.

    10. $10 Lid says:

      I understand the emphasis being placed on the punitive side of prohibition and how it disproportionately affects our brothers and sisters of color. I would like to see the discussion emphasize the racism and cultural bigotry that was fundamental to the origins of prohibition. It’s obvious to those of us who are involved; but, we need to make the politicians see that their reluctance or ambivalence to get on the right side of this issue is in essence tacit approval to those origins. Demanding that politicians can no longer hide from those racist origins will help them evolve into statesmen who believe in our cause or at least force them to calculate the damage being aligned with a racist policy does to their image.