Marijuana legalization currently holds as a hot topic in both the healthcare field and the political world. Being a pharmacy major with a great interest in politics, I pay great attention to this topic and the changes that are occurring. I will reserve my medical reasoning for being opposed to the legalization for another time and will instead focus on the political side.
In the recent Democratic presidential debate, the legalization of marijuana was discussed in detail. Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders leaned toward the legalization of marijuana and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did not object.
Both Sanders and Clinton spoke about the devastating imprisonment rates that are occurring for these non-violent offenders who are arrested for using the drug. However, both candidates were speaking about facts that are entirely false and they led voters to believe their absurd and inaccurate story.
Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton led the American taxpayers to believe that money is being used to feed, shelter and care for a massive number of citizens who are behind bars for marijuana use. However, according to four scholars from Oxford University the facts couldn’t be further from the truth. According to their 2012 compilation of prison records in America, “Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know,” they noted that around 700,000 people are arrested each year for possession of marijuana.
Both Sanders and Clinton failed to keep reading after this point apparently. The scholars continued on expressing the fact that nearly none of those people that got arrested, actually end up in prison. At the time of their publication, less than 400 people were serving in state or federal prisons for such charges.
Senator Sanders claimed that millions of people were currently imprisoned for these charges and Hillary Clinton did not object to the fact. The former Secretary of State remained neutral about the legalization of marijuana but supported Senator Sanders’ opinions on the prison system.
The moment that Bernie Sanders offered his likelihood to support the legalization of marijuana, the debate crowd erupted with applause. It does not surprise me that Sanders favored the legalization of marijuana being he even admitted to smoking it once or twice in an interview with Katie Couric.
Senator Sanders claimed that the drug didn’t quite work for him but he fails to realize how many people it does have a negative effect on. Yet, he thinks that false statements about the incarceration records in the U.S. completely justify the legalization of the drug. However, what really makes me wonder is why the crowd was in such support of his views to legalize the harmful drug.
It is impossible to know the exact reason, but I doubt that tax revenue for their local cities was the main reason for their support. The truth is voters have fallen into the trap of believing false facts from politicians that are seeking the highest seat in the country.
I can only hope that voters do not take “facts” for granted, especially when it comes to an illegal drug.