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Bernie Sanders Endorses California Marijuana Legalization Initiative

By David Downs on May 23, 2016

The United States’ most progressive candidate for President of the United States endorsed the leading marijuana legalization effort in California, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act; adding momentum to the campaign of “Let’s Get It Right, California”.

“You’ve got a pretty good ballot initiative coming up in November,” Sanders first told California crowds in regards to marijuana policy on May 10, reports state. Sanders decried the reality that young people have criminal records for pot, while the bankers that crashed the U.S. economy were never charged. Then on Wednesday, Bernie doubled down.

“I do not live in California,” the Vermont senator told supporters at a rally in San Jose, reports state. “But if I lived in California, I would vote ‘yes’ to legalize marijuana.”

Sanders is the most vocal supporter of cannabis law reform among presidential candidates — vowing to take cannabis off the federal list of controlled substances and leave policy up to the states. He is battling former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the California primary June 7. Secretary of State Clinton has said she would respect state marijuana laws and move cannabis to Schedule 2 of the federal list.

Presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump has taken varying stances on cannabis, most recently saying both that he would respect state laws, but then saying Colorado legalization as creating “a lot of problems”. By contrast, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has said that legalization “just might work” in Colorado.

Californians will get one chance to vote on cannabis legalization on Nov. 8 courtesy of the “Let’s Get It Right, California” campaign in support of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act.

AUMA immediately legalizes one ounce of flower in public and growing six plants per household in private for adults 21 and over. Adults could eventually buy cannabis in regulated, licensed retail stores like Colorado and Washington. AUMA also allows people with past convictions to get their records expunged, and the currently incarcerated to petition for re-sentencing under the new marijuana rules.

About 20,000 Californians will be arrested for pot this year.

A number of groups are opposed to California legalization this year, including the leaders of the state’s prison guards, police and sheriff’s deputies, as well as those in the drug abuse treatment industry.

Prohibition’s supporters have donated over $60,000 to defeat the measure.

Joining with the prison guards in opposition to AUMA are some rival legalization groups, as well as select pockets of medical and recreational cannabis growers and stores opposed to further regulations and reform.

Do you support AUMA? Let us know in the comments below.