The Democratic party’s presidential hopefuls (some more hopeful than others) faced off in their first official debate Tuesday, hosted by CNN. The tone was overwhelmingly civil when compared to the GOP counterpart, with all 5 candidates portraying a unified Democratic Party, characterized largely by agreement with itself.
Grassroots campaigner and self-proclaimed Social Democrat Bernie Sanders elevated the discourse with his relentless insistence on focusing on the issues that matter the most, eliciting huge ovations from his supporters in the crowd, but it was Hilary Clinton‘s poised and commanding performance that stood out against the rest.
Iran, Syria, healthcare, gun control, and free college education were the most talked-about topics of the evening, but at PotNetwork, we have to admit that our ears really perked up when moderator Anderson Cooper threw to commericial with a tease for the next question –
COOPER: “Some of the candidates have tried marijuana, as have pretty much — probably everybody in this room.”
COOPER: “Others have not. Does it influence their views on legalization?”
Even in this setting, the mention of legalizing marijuana is still accompanied by giggles and eye-rolls, which is disappointing.
That problem aside, the response from the candidates was decisively in favor of legalization with very little trepidation.
Sanders, when asked if he would vote “yes” in Nevada’s upcoming referendum to legalize recreational marijuana, said, “I suspect I would”.
His reasoning, he went on, is that, “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. I think we have to think through this war on drugs, which has done an enormous amount of damage.”
Moving on to Secretary Clinton, guest questioner Juan-Carlos Lopez asked her, “When asked about legalizing recreational marijuana, you told [Christiane Amanpour] ‘let’s wait and see how it plays out in Colorado and Washington’. It’s been more than a year since you’ve said that. Are you ready to take a position tonight?”
She quickly shot back, “No…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.”
They’ve had legal recreational pot for nearly 2 years now in Colorado, and it’s been an overwhelming success by nearly every possible measure, generating enormous tax revenue, and taking a huge burden off of law enforcement. So Secretary Clinton may not have said exactly what we wanted to hear, but caution is better than opposition.
Encouragingly, she went on to say, “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 that we know exactly how we’re going to help people for whom medical marijuana provides relief.”
In keeping with the theme of the night, Anderson Cooper moved on to another topic before the other 3 candidates had a chance to speak.
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