Last night, the anticipated Democratic Debate took place on CNN and to little surprise, the hot topic of cannabis legalization was proposed to two of the Democratic party's most visible candidates.
Before the Debate, we broke down Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders's opinions on cannabis legalization.
The moderator brought up Nevada's forthcoming proposed measure to legalize recreational marijuana in the state for their 2016 ballot vote. He proposed the question to Senator Sanders, asking him how he would vote if he was a resident of Nevada. "I suspect I would vote yes," he nonchalantly began, a response that immediately garnered hoots and cheers. (The Debate was hosted in Las Vegas.) "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 concluded his statement with a bold challenge: "We need to rethink the War on Drugs, which has done an enormous amount of damage. We need to rethink our criminal justice system. We've got a lot of work to do in that area."
Throughout her campaign, Hillary has remained mum on her official stance on legalizing cannabis. When she was asked point blank about her stance last night, she firmly responded that still, she was not ready to take any particular stance yet. However, she did take the spotlight to voice her opinion on issues that relate very closely to cannabis legalization - specifically, medical marijuana and incarceration.
Firstly, she openly voiced her support of medical marijuana, but continued on that she believes more research needs to be done. "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 a lot more research so we know exactly how we're going to help people for whom medical marijuana provides relief."
Then, she continued to connect the dots to a problem that her and Bernie Sanders both agree upon - the issue of incarceration due to cannabis-related crimes. "I agree completely with the idea that we have got to stop imprisoning people who use marijuana. Therefore, we need more states, cities and the federal government to begin to address this, so we don't have this terrible result that Bernie Sanders was talking about where we have a huge population of nonviolent, low-level offenses that are primarily due to marijuana."