Bernie Sanders Only Serious Candidate for Ending the War on Drugs

Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders Wants to End the War on Drugs

Bernie Sanders, a fiery Jewish Vermont Independent congressman running for United States President, recently met with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Editorial Board during his primary campaign in Wisconsin. He was asked by one of the members of the editorial board what he would do about mass incarceration rates, particularly for minorities in America, an issue of some importance in a state with one of the highest rates of disproportionate incarceration of black citizens in the nation. Sanders replied that he would focus very much on employment and education for the youth of the country, who remain the most unemployed or underemployed in the country, but that the focus also needed to include ending the "so-called war on drugs".

Sanders sensibly argues that it is bad policy to schedule marijuana in the same category (schedule one) as extremely potent and addictive substances like heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, etc. under the Federal Substance Control Act.

"I think we need to rethink the war on drugs," he said in the interview.

Sanders also pointed to research that clearly shows, in terms of race, white and black use of marijuana are roughly the same but black arrest, incarceration and conviction rates are much higher. Sanders was a civil rights leader and famously marched with Dr. Martin Luther King and worked on civil rights issues during the Civil Rights era in America during the 1960s in Chicago. Sanders is popular with young voters despite his age and he appeals to the morality and humanity in voters across the country for his views on corruption and campaign finance, vowing not to accept any Super PAC or lobbyist money. His campaign is grassroots and his democratic opponent seems to be behind in most polls. His margin against Republican Frontrunner Donald Trump is also very wide.

Sanders also touched on another issue that has roiled the public in the past few years: police brutality and the continuing trend of police units to look like military forces in occupied zones rather than community officers protecting and serving neighborhoods. Police in NYC recently spoke out against their department and they City of New York for targeting and exploiting vulnerable citizens to meet arrest quotas for raising revenues for the city. The federal justice department made similar but even more damning determinations for the community of Ferguson, MO.

Sanders is by far the only candidate running for office to actually take an educated and moral approach to drugs and society with a focus on civil rights, education and economics. Sanders is currently campaigning in New York and brought out massive crowds in Brooklyn, an impoverished borough in the city. New York is Clinton's home turf, so it will be interesting to see the results. Sanders, who has spent time campaigning with Atlanta rapper Killer Mike, interviewed at Hot 97, a major American hip hop station and trend setter within the culture (hip hop's roots are in NYC).

Sanders also won Minnesota, a state that nearly failed the Center for Public Integrity's test for civil justice and public integrity. The state got a D- rating and many in the state have criticized its restrictive medical cannabis program, which only allows two growers in the state to supply the drug in only pill or oil forms. One of those individuals is related to Republican congress woman Michelle Bachmann. Minnesota is currently struggling with a major heroin problem. The heroin there is among the nation's most pure and is connected to Mexican, Asian and Eurasian sources.

Sanders has also won 7 of the last 8 primary contests in the run up for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States of America. He needs more delegates though to beat Clinton for sure. In order to do that, Sanders supporters would need to put more political pressure on their local, regional and state officials and others in their community.