Bernie Sanders is the first major-party presidential candidate to openly endorse legalizing marijuana. During the Las Vegas Democratic debate, Bernie Sanders stated that he would vote to support Nevada’s measures for marijuana legalization if he lived in the state.
As Reason.com reports:
[…] Even Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), the most libertarian candidate in the Republican field, has declined to take a position on the merits of legalization, saying only that the federal government should not try to force pot prohibition on the states. “This is the first time we’ve seen a major candidate for president say he’d probably vote for legalizing marijuana if given the chance,” says Marijuana Majority Chairman Tom Angell. “That says a lot about how far the politics on this issue have shifted in a very short amount of time. As a point of reference, in 2008 no major candidate even supported decriminalization when asked in a debate, and our movement had to chase them around New Hampshire and repeatedly harass them just to garner pledges to stop federal raids on state-legal medical marijuana patients. Legalization is at the forefront of mainstream American politics, and politicians are starting to treat it as such.”
While the position is new for a presidential candidate, it is not entirely new for Bernie Sanders. In the 1970s, Sanders was known for his opposition to drug prohibition and supported marijuana legalization.
“I would vote yes [on marijuana legalization] because I am seeing in this country too many lives being destroyed for nonviolent offenses,” said Sanders. “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.”
For more on this, read the article from Reason titled: “Sanders Suddenly Becomes Pot-Friendliest Major Party Candidate.“