Bernie Sanders indicated he would support the legalization of recreational marijuana at Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential debate. His answer marked the first time a 2016 candidate has openly supported legalizing recreational marijuana, according to The Washington Post.
When asked whether he would support Nevada’s 2016 ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana, he said, “I suspect I would vote yes.” Earlier this year, Sanders said he supports marijuana decriminalization, as well as medical marijuana, the article notes.
Sanders said he would vote yes on the Nevada measure “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 added, “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, we we’ve got a lot of work to do in that area.”
Hillary Clinton said she would take a “wait-and-see” approach to recreational marijuana. She said she was not ready to take a position on state-level recreational marijuana.
“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.”
The other candidates at the debate, Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee, were not asked to respond to any questions about marijuana. O’Malley has previously said he supports loosening federal marijuana laws.