Sanders’s Marijuana Announcement is a Big Moment 
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Sanders’s Marijuana Announcement is a Big Moment 
Posted by CN Staff on October 29, 2015 at 10:27:11 PT
By Amber Phillips
Source: Washington Post
Washington, D.C. -- One day in the perhaps-not-too-distant future, when we — not the royal we, of course — light up a joint and reflect on how marijuana became as accepted and as legal as alcohol and cigarettes in this country, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) probably won't be top of mind.But future marijuana-legalization scholars won't soon forget the first presidential candidate to publicly support removing marijuana from the government's list of dangerous drugs. It currently resides on that list; Sanders wants it off entirely, which is a political turning point in our relationship with pot.
In a Virginia town hall broadcast (naturally) to about 300 college campuses Wednesday, Sanders told an audience of more than 1,700 applauding students:"Too many Americans have seen their lives destroyed because they have criminal records as a result of marijuana use," he said, according to The Washington Post's John Wagner and Christopher Ingraham. “That’s wrong. That has got to change.”What Sanders is calling for is not legalization. But the policy implications of removing pot entirely from the government's schedule of controlled substances would be big: States would be allowed to legalize it without interference from Washington, it would help economies involving pot (like banking) grow without fear of prosecution from the federal government, and fewer people would go to jail for possessing marijuana.We're still quite a ways from that becoming a reality, despite the most recent Gallup polling showing a substantial majority of Americans support legalizing recreational marijuana and a few states moving to do just that in recent years.But Sanders, in being the first national candidate to call for this change, took us a clear step closer.There are a few reasons his announcement was a big moment for pot politically. First, the medical community at large would agree with Sanders that pot is not as dangerous as, say, crack cocaine and heroin and the other highly addictive drugs it is currently classified with. Respected organizations like the American Medical Association have also said keeping marijuana on a legally unreachable shelf stymies research for its healing potentials. In that way, Sanders is bringing already-existent medical views of pot to the forefront of a political debate that hasn't yet embraced them.Second, Sanders is not a fringe candidate — although you could argue some of the democratic socialist's policies aren't exactly mainstream. He regularly draws crowds in the thousands, if not tens of thousands, and is giving Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton a run for her money. And if there's anything this campaign has taught us, it's that Sanders has the ability to draw Clinton to the left politically. That doesn't mean Clinton will take the same stance, but it does mean there could be pressure to move in that direction.Third, this just feels like something of a turning point in our nation's approach to marijuana. Like it or not, the signs would indicate we're on a national trajectory toward decriminalization, perhaps even legalization. And it's happening remarkably fast, relative to other social issues.The war on drugs is ending, and a new approach to how we regulate drugs like marijuana has already begun. The Obama administration, under former attorney general Eric Holder, has pushed to ease regulations that put non-violent drug offenders behind bars, and has agreed to look the other way when states legalize pot.In Congress, there's also a steady — if not slow — push by a growing number of lawmakers to ease federal restrictions for medical and recreational use. Wagner and Ingraham point out that medical marijuana is sold in nearly half the country and one red state, Alaska, has legalized it recreationally.They also note that in three swing states, pot is polling better than 2016 candidates. The aforementioned Gallup poll released this month shows support for legalizing pot at an all-time high of 58 percent.Most other presidential contenders have been more cautious about recreational marijuana. Clinton has very much taken a wait-and-see approach when it comes to states that have legalized it. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who has raised money from the marijuana industry for his presidential campaign, has said the federal government shouldn't interfere with states who want to legalize it. He and and former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley (D) have said they'd support bumping down a notch the government's classification of pot as a drug. Only Sanders has supported taking it off completely. And of course, neither Paul nor O'Malley are drawing the kind of support that Sanders is.It seems only a matter of time before more politicians join Sanders in taking more definitive policy positions that move along the drug's slow but apparently inevitable march toward acceptance in America. Maybe it's this election, maybe it's the next. But Sanders will likely be remembered as the guy who took us one step closer to our inevitable new relationship with pot.Amber Phillips writes about politics for The Fix. She was previously the one-woman D.C. bureau for the Las Vegas Sun and has reported from Boston and Taiwan.Source: Washington Post (DC)Author:  Amber PhillipsPublished: October 29, 2015Copyright: 2015 Washington Post CompanyContact: letters Website: URL:  -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on November 03, 2015 at 06:53:44 PT
Bernie Sanders
I love Bernie Sanders. It will be hard to beat Clinton but he sure is stirring the pot for us!
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Comment #7 posted by jetblackchemist on November 03, 2015 at 01:12:50 PT
Mr. Sanders is the first politician that I have ever supported... anyone else that has a strong sense of justice for social policy, not only for the US but around the world, I am sure understands why.It is my opinion as an Indepedent... choosing based on party lines makes politics more akin to sports where social policy that benefits citizens becomes secondary to that of winning. This is why I support Mr. Sanders. Politics is supposed to be the power of the people combined to benefit the people. Not corporations that have managed to lobby themselves into personhood status through corrupt politicans where money has become the focus that has allowed actual peoples voices to be bought out by pacs and corporate conglomerate lobbies instead.Many politicans are going to play the cannabis dance to pander votes... and it will end there if elected because the vote was all they were after. So take heed and look at political records if one even exists... and it becomes clear, everyone else; either has no business running or are running strictly for corporate welfare... instead of us the actual living breathing people that make society function on a daily basis.The way our government has been headed with corporations and corruption giving them our power in politics for decades has been leading to a corporate run communist state that has been steadily removing citizens voices, power, and freedom from politics all together... we shouldnt have to fight to be equal or keep freedom ringing.We haven't been at war for over 14 years for the sake of social justice and the reform of countries for humanitarian reasons... social justice was the excuse and well war is not at all humanitarian in nature is it? If we dropped food instead of bombs... then perhaps there would be a valid argument for our many drones and war planes. Its about forcibly taking control of another countries resources and installing a government that benefits our country and putting their resources and labor at a less expensive premium than resources and jobs here at home while the cost to do so is on the next several generations backs already...The difference between socialism and capitalism? Everyone has a face; instead of being a wallet.Sanders 2016 
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Comment #6 posted by keninsj on October 31, 2015 at 20:47:19 PT:
I don't buy it. I think Trump will say anything to get elected. My guess if he ever did get in office he would favor the prohibs in a heartbeat. He just rubs me the wrong way.
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on October 31, 2015 at 10:56:58 PT
It needs to stop now.
People are still being killed by law enforcement/government agents in arrests and take downs of all sorts all over the country. I just hate it so bad. The grief and sorrow at what some people are capable of doing to others and what they have done, and are doing to others, this very minute, in the name of drug/cannabis prohibition is painful to comprehend. There shouldn't be any death and bloodshed over these "Substances" or people's choices to use them or not. What prohibition and prohibitionists have done to others in the name of their self righteous proclamation of law prohibiting a "Substance" and their ungodly fear of someone else's "Substance abuse" is just wrong. It IS like the freaking Inquisition and burning witches! I am tempted to declare, "Damn them!" But it's best not to damn other people. Ever. About anything. I have some knowledge of that phenomena. Don't do it. If nothing else think, "Curses have a boomerang effect." They do. May be slow, or may be fast, but they boomerang. Of course, I know at this point, that prohibition and prohibitionists are damned, politically speaking, and perhaps, spiritually, financially, and intellectually already, by their own actions and some bad vibes that they and their followers created. Really bad vibes... like hatred. They need to back off. Let that last poor kid that lost his life to fear in a takedown over the underground cannabis world, forced to exist because of prohibition, be the last one to die in this ungodly self-righteous and yes, Puritanical pogrom. 
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Comment #4 posted by runruff on October 30, 2015 at 19:26:33 PT
What about Marc Emory! 
Bastards turned him over to the fascist DEA, he did 5 years for nothing! I wish Trudeau would compensate him. What a slap in the face of thehappy boy's club called the DEA. I met them. 40 of them spent the day here a decade ago. ' know what? Punks, moma's boys, and bullies. Yep, that's it! The image we get comes from carfully controlled media and an annual PR budget of one billion dollars.To know them is to despise them!
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Comment #3 posted by HempWorld on October 30, 2015 at 18:46:46 PT
Yes, Sam
As (most always) you have said it!Kudos to you and FoM!Blessed be!I am so tired of this anti-marijuana stance.For reasons of $$$ and status quo.We as a human race (and the world at large) are stuck with these narrow minded greedy bastards.Good night to all!
Legalise It! Trudeau are you listening?
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Comment #2 posted by sam adams on October 30, 2015 at 09:48:26 PT
Only a very small group of zealots that control the federal government have yet to "accept" cannabis. Last time I checked, the very state (DC) where this newspaper is based had voted for legal MJ by an overwhelming majority? Of course, to the state-worshipping Washington Post, owned by the wealthy elite, federal government dogma is the only measure of what matters in society. oh yes federal masters - please tell me when it's OK to use this plant for my sickness. Thank you for your benevolent wisdom oh glorious leader!
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on October 30, 2015 at 07:01:44 PT
Trump Softens Position on Marijuana Legalization
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