Clinton versus Sanders: The Question of Marijuana.

Posted on October 19 2015

It’s interesting that the question of marijuana has become a question of the mainstream. In the UK, the battle over Labour leadership existed within a microcosm of new/old Labour (centre left/left left) where candidates were grilled in official debates about their political stances (including legalisation of the Class C drug). In the end, old Labour won, with Corbyn speaking openly about his desire to legalise cannabis, should he get elected as next PM.

 

In America, the Democratic debate, held last Tuesday night, saw top candidates asked the same question. What is their political stance on marijuana. Surely, ten years ago, maybe less, such a question would not have been at the forefront of the debate. Surely their stance on legalisation would not have been examined on such a platform, so early? The fact that Clinton and Sanders were both expected (and would have been expecting) to give their standpoint as part of the canon of their ideologies, reflects the public’s desire for legalisation to be at least considered, nation wide.

 

So, what did they have to say?

 

Clinton: "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," she said. "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."

"We have got to stop imprisoning people who use marijuana," she said. "Therefore, we need more states, cities, and the federal government to begin to address this so that we don't have this terrible result that Senator Sanders was talking about where we have a huge population in our prisons for nonviolent, low-level offenses that are primarily due to marijuana.”

When asked, without room for ambivalence, whether she was ready to take a stance on the legalisation of recreational marijuana, she said, "no.” But it was at least a question of time and research as opposed to outright ideological objection.

And what about Sanders? 

“I would vote yes because I am seeing in this country too many lives being destroyed for non-violent offences,” he said. “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.”

On the back of this issue alone, I would have given round one to Sanders…

 

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