Could Marijuana Soon be Legalized Nationwide?
07 Jul 2015

Could Marijuana Soon be Legalized Nationwide?

Though the national election is over one year away, 2016 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is open to the idea of legalizing marijuana around the nation. In an online discussion at, Sanders commented that he would be open to legalizing marijuana use for recreational purposes nationwide. “The state of Vermont voted to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana and I support that. I have supported the use of medical marijuana,” Sanders said.

His home state of Vermont is currently considering legislation that would decriminalize marijuana usage, and has additionally changed the drugs status from a Schedule I to Schedule II drug.

Currently, Sanders trails Hillary Clinton in the polls by an average of 57 points, but many young voters who support the legalization of marijuana might be swayed by Sanders’ opinion. “We have been engaged in [the war on drugs] for decades now with a huge cost and the destruction of a whole lot of lives of people who were never involved in any violent activities,” he told Time.

With regard to full marijuana legalization, Sanders said he will look to Colorado, where recreational marijuana is legal, to see the effects of such a policy change. Colorado was the first state to legalize the drug for recreational purposes. It’s now fully legal in four states and in Washington, D.C., though sales remain banned in the District.

Sanders has not said that he fully supports nationwide legalization and has stated on the record that he has used the drug in the past, but that it is not his thing. “It’s not my thing, but it is the thing of a whole lot of people. And if you want to make the argument that maybe marijuana is less harmful to health than tobacco, I think you’d probably be making a correct argument. Some may disagree but I think it’s probably true,” he said.

With the presidential primaries to take place in early 2016, Sanders has called for debates to begin this summer and said he’s looking forward to discussing the issues with his competition on both sides of the aisle.

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