Bernie Sanders continues to aggressively promote the legalization of cannabis, telling supporters at a rally in California today that he would vote for yes for the ballot initiative this fall, if he were able to do so.
"I do not live in California, but if I lived in California, I would vote 'yes' to legalize marijuana," said the Vermont senator, who is currently campaigning in California with the state primary scheduled for June 7.
Last October, Sanders became the first candidate from either main party to express personal support for legalization, when he told Nevada voters he would vote yes if he lived in that state.
"I suspect I would vote yes," he said at the time. "And I would vote yes because I am seeing in this country too many lives being destroyed for non-violent 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 who are smoking marijuana," he said.
Sanders has said he would also vote in support of legalization in his home state of Vermont, though legalization there would have to come through a vote in the state legislature, not a ballot initiative.
Sanders would vote 'yes' in his home state too
"That issue is being debated in Vermont," Sanders recently told the Sacramento Bee. "In Vermont, if that bill came up, I would vote for it."
Speaking about Sanders support of the Nevada initiative last year, Marijuana Majority founder Tom Angell noted the historical significance of the senator's pronouncement.
"This is the first time we've seen a major candidate for president say he'd probably vote for legalizing marijuana if given the chance," said Angell in The Huffington Post. "That says a lot about how far the politics on this issue have shifted in a very short amount of time."
And now Sanders has gotten behind the legalization initiative in the country's most populous state.
In contrast, Hillary Clinton recently sidestepped a voter's question about her own personal view on legalization of recreational marijuana, though she did re-state her views on changing the drug scheduling laws for medical use and research, and using the states as "laboratories of democracy" for experimenting with recreational and medical legalization reforms.