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Bernie Sanders On MSNBC: ‘It Is Absurd’ That Millions Have Been Arrested For Marijuana


bernie sanders marijuanaJust before heading on to the Senate floor to deliver a speech on removing marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, Bernie Sanders stopped by Thomas Roberts’ show on MSNBC to supposedly answer questions about marijuana.

He ended up having to fend off horse race questions regarding his opponent Hillary Clinton for the first few minutes, but managed to bring the discussion back around to his commitment for criminal justice reform before Roberts veered the conversation back towards horse race politics.

Sanders did manage to insert some facts into the discussion, previewing some of the remarks he would later give on the Senate floor. When finally asked about removing marijuana from the list of controlled substances here is what Sanders had to say:

“What I just said yesterday is that I am extremely distressed that in this country we have more people in jail than any other country on earth. More than China, a country four times our size. And we have got to deal with among other things, serious criminal justice reform, including reform of our drug laws. I think it is absurd that over the years millions of people have been arrested for smoking marijuana. When you get a criminal record, it impacts your whole life and it stays with you, and that’s why I think we should remove marijuana from the list of dangerous drugs on the Controlled Substances Act. States around this country are now voting to legalize the use of marijuana. They should be allowed to go forward without federal legal impediments.”

Video courtest of MSNBC. His remarks on marijuana start at about 3:29:


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  1. It is IMMORAL to deny America’s Cancer patients safe, legal, access to Medical Marijuana.
    85% of Americans want Marijuana to be legal for Medical Purposes.
    82% of Oncologists want their patients to be able to use it.
    Marijuana is “Wonder Drug” for Cancer Patients undergoing Chemotherapy.
    Every American with Cancer deserves the right to have safe, legal, access to Medical Marijuana.
    Every. Single. One.
    We need action taken at the federal level now!

  2. I just wish he would take what he knows about the cannabis/government relationship and apply it to everything else. But he wouldn’t be a socialist then. He’d be a libertarian.

  3. Bernie!

    Because government doesn’t control enough of the country. We need more laws. And thus more enforcers.

    And don’t forget regulatory capture. Because big money runs government.

    But he is very good on cannabis.

  4. We appreciate you taking part in the discussion! I will certainly mention these suggestions to Jay Smoker. With TWB getting over 6mil monthly page views, we experience a significant amount of spam and have had to set filters and parameters that allow us to catch them when we aren’t always around a computer. Thank you for your readership and your participation! We’ll be more mindful of checking the comments on a more frequent basis.

  5. I’ve run a blog and moderated others. I know how long it takes to approve a comment, including using Disqus. Back in my day, you couldn’t do it from a phone, either.

    Perhaps changing the parameters on what automatically goes into moderation would lessen the load, or making it known what will automatically “flag” a comment for moderation so commenters can avoid hitting that “flag” to begin with, would also help.

    Didn’t question anyone’s commitment or love, just a gentle ribbing for putting some of my comments in “pending” when others show up instantly.

  6. This blog is run by a total of three people. Johnny Green works a regular 8 to 5 job and has been blogging for the love every day since 2011, they are far from lazy. Just busy.

  7. To bad Thomas Roberts was more interested in the race than in any other question. Bernie had a lot to say and we all would of been informed over the race and rescheduling conversation. But as typical reporters they only want to talk about the questions they ask. I dare a reporter to get all of the delegates who are running for president and have only questions about legalization. I bet the ratings will go up for the person who does this. Any takers? Networks?

  8. There are “pending” comments STILL not showing up here. What’s the deal The Weed Blog, are you being stereotypical lazy stoners, or what? Bernie won’t ever get the nomination if he has supporters that take THIS LONG to approve “pending” comments.

  9. Remember the 60’s and how the people banded together to end the Viet Nam war?. (even though the government does’t agree, like all else, to us it was a “war”) I’m 62, and I’ve seen the injustices of our leaders. We must legalize in Ohio, and show those that oppose that we are not ill-responsible partakers. Please vote yes on #3, so many of us need it to self medicate.

  10. Cannabis should not be scheduled at all, let alone be in Schedule I.

    It is absurd that the Federal Government still classifies cannabis as a Schedule I substance along with Heroin. It is classified in a more dangerous category than Cocaine, Morphine, Opium and Meth. The three required criteria for Schedule I classification are:

    1) The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.

    The dependence rate of cannabis is the lowest of common legal drugs including tobacco, caffeine, alcohol, and many prescription drugs. More important, cannabis does not cause the kind of dependence that we typically associate with the term, like that of alcohol or heroin. It is more similar to that of caffeine, with less symptoms. Cannabis dependence, in the very few who develop it, is relatively mild, and usually not a significant issue or something that requires treatment, unless of course it is court ordered. [Catherine et al. 2011; Lopez-Quintero et al. 2011; Joy et al. 1999; Anthony et al. 1994;]

    2) The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.

    Cannabis has been used as medicine for thousands of years. Despite great difficulty in conducting medical cannabis research, the medicinal efficacy of cannabis is supported by the highest quality evidence. [Hill. 2015] Already 76% of doctors accept using cannabis to treat medical conditions even though it is still illegal in most places. [Adler and Colbert. 2013]. Cannabis is able to treat a wide range of disease, including mood and anxiety disorders, movement disorders such as Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease, neuropathic pain, multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury, to cancer, atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction, stroke, hypertension, glaucoma, obesity/metabolic syndrome, and osteoporosis, to name just a few. Cannabis is able to do this partially through its action on the newly discovered (thanks to cannabis) endocannabinoid system and the receptors CB1 and CB2 which are found throughout the body. [Pacher et al. 2006; Pamplona 2012; Grotenhermen & Müller-Vahl 2012].

    3) There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.

    On September 6, 1988, after two years of hearings on cannabis rescheduling, DEA Administrative Law Judge Francis L. Young concluded that:

    Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man…. Marijuana has been accepted as capable of relieving distress of great numbers of very ill people, and doing so with safety under medical supervision. It would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance in light of the evidence in this record.

    Relatively speaking cannabis is a safe drug [Iversen L. 2005]. The evidence is is clear, cannabis does not belong in Schedule I [Grant et al. 2012]. It does not meet any one of the three required criteria.

    Please help bring end to this senseless prohibition. The organizations below fight every day to bring us sensible cannabis policies. Help them fight by joining their mailing lists, signing their petitions and writing your legislators when they call for it:

    MPP – The Marijuana Policy Projecthttp://www.mpp.org/
    DPA – Drug Policy Alliancehttp://www.drugpolicy.org/
    NORML – National Organization to Reform Marijuana Lawshttp://norml.org/
    LEAP – Law Enforcement Against Prohibitionhttp://www.leap.cc/


    –Adler and Colbert. Medicinal Use of Marijuana — Polling Results. New England Journal of Medicine. 2013.
    –Anthony et al. Comparative epidemiology of dependence on tobacco, alcohol, controlled substances, and inhalants: Basic findings from the National Comorbidity Survey. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology. 1994.
    –Catherine et al. Evaluating Dependence Criteria for Caffeine. J Caffeine Res. 2011.
    –Grant et al. Medical marijuana: clearing away the smoke. Open Neurol J. 2012.
    –Grotenhermen F, Müller-Vahl K. The therapeutic potential of cannabis and cannabinoids. Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2012. Review.
    –Hill K. Medical Marijuana for Treatment of Chronic Pain and Other Medical and Psychiatric Problems. A Clinical Review. JAMA. 2015. Review.
    –Iversen L. Long-term effects of exposure to cannabis. Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2005. Review.
    –Joy et al. Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base. Institute of Medicine. 1999.
    –Lopez-Quintero et al. Probability and predictors of transition from first use to dependence on nicotine, alcohol, cannabis, and cocaine: results of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC). Drug Alcohol Depend. 2011.
    –Pacher et al. The endocannabinoid system as an emerging target of pharmacotherapy. Pharmacol Rev. 2006. Review.
    –Pamplona FA, Takahashi RN. Psychopharmacology of the endocannabinoids: far beyond anandamide. J Psychopharmacol. 2012. Review.

  11. The FDA just released a treatment for cancer using a modified Herpes virus. How long has this Herpes treatment been tested? What could the possible side effects be? How safe is this drug? Now on the other hand Cannabis is known to kill cancer cells and rebuild the damaged cells. I believe Rick Simpson has produced this treatment for about 20 – 30 years. There are no side effects. This treatment is safer than school lunches (7-year old chokes on school lunch)

  12. I wish it was as simple as getting more of those voters, but there is a lot more to winning the D nomination that that. We can be fooled by polls during primary season into thinking a candidate has more support that they actually have. Pressing a number on your phone saying you support a candidate does not translate into actual primary success.

    Take the Iowa caucuses as an example. Winning that state’s votes at the Democrat’s National Convention isn’t as easy as showing up to a polling place and voting for Bernie. You have to go to caucus meetings to register your preference for a candidate, which takes a much bigger time commitment than just showing up at a polling place and voting. It’s a different beast and requires “boots on the ground” organizing. You need supporters setting up caucus places well ahead of caucus date. You need to inform those in your caucus area where the caucus will be held. You need to get people to show up at the proper date and time. You need to mobilize volunteers to pick up people and get them to the caucus. And before you do all that, you have to find and identify enough of your supporters that can get all those tasks done.

    Remember, a lot of states have unique ways to pick their delegates to the national convention, where the nomination is ultimately chosen. Some states don’t have any popular vote at all, and their delegates are chosen at state conventions. Some states have a hybrid method where the popular vote accounts for part of the delegates to the convention, and the state convention accounts for the other delegates. Some states, the counties or congressional districts choose the delegates to the state convention, where the delegates to the national convention are then chosen.

    In Illinois, you don’t vote for a Presidential candidate at the polls, you vote for that candidate’s delegates on the ballot, and you have to know which of the delegates on the ballot support your candidate. The candidate has to have a different delegates in each congressional district (18 in Illinois) and all of those delegates must petition separately to get on the ballot in their congressional district.

    In all likelihood, Bernie will not have support from the establishment Democrats in Illinois. He will have to go outside the Democrat’s party in Illinois to find his delegates and to find his volunteers to do the petitioning to get on the ballot. His delegates will then face well-known public figures and politicians who will be Hillary delegates. Bernie’s Joe Smith delegate will be on the ballot against a Congressperson or State Senator that has tons more name recognition and the backing of the Democrat’s organization and structure. And establishment Democrats will put up all kinds of obstacles in Bernie’s way to prevent him from winning the state. His delegates will be pressured and told they won’t get the party’s support if they ever want to run for office or hold a government job. Their employers might receive a visit or phone call suggesting they keep their employee in line or their business not meet with favorable outcomes in the future. It’s crazy, but politics ain’t bean bag as they say in Illinois, which is also true in other states.

    Those are just examples from a couple states at how messed up our “democracy” really is when it comes to Presidential campaigns. It is designed to protect the interests of the Party leaders and their power and it not conducive to “outsiders” coming in and winning. Donald Trump is going to experience the same thing in the primaries where the establishment Republicans don’t support him and will create a huge uphill climb for him to “win” that state. Ron Paul faced the same thing the past two elections in the Republican primary.

    Don’t think for a second that if Bernie has higher poll numbers than Hillary in a state that he will “win” the primary in that state. Not that I much care, but the same is true for Donald Trump. His high poll numbers right now don’t mean a darn thing if he doesn’t have the ground game to convert those poll numbers into primary delegates. There are a lot of states where the popular vote/opinion doesn’t mean much of anything.

    Sorry to rant so long, but I just wanted to illustrate that saying you support Bernie isn’t going to do much at all to help him get the D nomination. Find out how it works in your state and then get busy if you really want him to win. Bernie is a Democrat outsider and is going to need to build a vast organization in a hurry to beat Hillary. Hillary is going to be able to use the Democrat’s organizations and structures that have been in place forever. Obama barely beat Hillary and Bernie’s challenge will be much harder than Obama faced, since Obama had the support of the Democrat establishment in many states like Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, etc that Bernie is not starting off with.

  13. I know. I don’t understand why he isn’t getting their support. He’s the one that would most supportive to their issues.

  14. Bernie needs more of the black and latino vote. That’s where he’s lacking right now. If he can get more of the black and latino voters he’ll definitely be the democratic presidential candidate.

  15. Way to get the ball rolling, Senator Sanders. Perhaps we can get a march on Washington to see it through.

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