[dropcap class=”kp-dropcap”]T[/dropcap]uesday’s first Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas inevitably moved to the topic of recreational cannabis. As moderator, Anderson Cooper, stated emphatically, “Some of the candidates have tried marijuana, as has probably everybody in this room,” nods of approval were seen coming from the audience.
While Clinton may be the only democratic candidate to state that she’s never smoked cannabis, she expressed concern with disproportionate drug-related sentences, however, she did not share Bernie Sanders’ enthusiasm. Cooper asked Clinton and Sanders about recreational cannabis on Nevada’s 2016 ballot. “I would vote yes because I am seeing in this country, too many lives being destroyed for nonviolent 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 for smoking marijuana,” Sanders said, adding, “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 and we have a lot of work to do in that area.”
When asked if she was ready to discuss recreational cannabis, Clinton simply said “No.” Clinton clung to her neutral stance stating “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.”
A recent polling average pins Clinton at 45.6 percent nationally with Sanders climbing to 24.4 percent. Unfortunately, Clinton and Sanders were the only Democratic candidates given the opportunity to weigh in on recreational cannabis in the first debate. Clinton spoke the longest with 31.05 minutes of runtime with Sanders very close behind at 28.05 minutes.