While Bernie Sanders came out in clear support of marijuana legalization at the Democratic presidential debate on Thursday, Hillary Clinton hesitated, saying she wasn’t ready to take a position on the issue.
“We have the opportunity through the states that are pursuing recreational marijuana to find out a lot more than we know today. I do support the use of medical marijuana, and I think even there we need to do more research so we know exactly how we’re going to help people for whom medical marijuana provides relief.”
Sanders had previously said that he would support marijuana legalization given the change. When asked about a ballot measure to legalize cannabis in Nevada, Sanders hit the nail on the head:
“I suspect I would vote yes. And 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,” he said. “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 and we’ve got a lot of work to do in that area.”
Clinton did acknowledge that too many people are behind bars for nonviolent offenses, but declined to go further than that:
“I think we’re just at the beginning, but I agree completely with the idea that 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 we don’t have this terrible result that Sen. Sanders was talking about, where we have a whole population in prison for low-level, nonviolent offenses primarily due to marijuana.”
In other words, Clinton thinks that “states, cities, and the federal government” should stop imprisoning people for using marijuana, but she’s not sure we should legalize it.
Photo Credit: Phil Roeder
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