Bernie Sanders On ‘The Breakfast Club:’ Marijuana Should Be Removed From Federal Controlled Substances Act, Arrests Unfairly Target Blacks

Inquisitor Bernie Sanders appeared on the nation’s top-rated hip-hop morning show, telling hosts of The Breakfast Club that he supports decriminalization of marijuana and an end to drug laws that unfairly target blacks.

Sanders covered a number of topics on his Friday appearance on the New York radio station Power 105.1, (LISTEN HERE) including his desire to spark a “political revolution” that brings in people who in the past had not been involved in the political process. But, the appearance focused mostly on issues affecting black voters, a demographic Sanders has been working hard to gain over the last few months.

In the interview, Sanders repeated his vow to bring an end to drug laws that that have decimated many black communities.

“We gotta get marijuana out of the Federal Controlled Substances Act – African Americans are more times more likely to be arrested for possession of marijuana than whites…despite the fact that both communities smoke marijuana at the same level,” he said.

In the interview, Sanders also addressed his support of the controversial Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act in 1994, which introduced tough crime and sentencing standards that critics say unfairly targeted black communities. Sanders said he always stood against the bill, but ultimately voted for it because of measures that were added to ban assault weapons and fight violence against women.

“We have more people in jail today than any other country on earth – largely African American, largely Latino – the criminal justice system is broken,” Sanders said.

The complete appearance can be seen in the following video.

The Sanders campaign had already been on the offensive against critics of his vote. This week, they released an animated video showing a 1991 speech against the bill, showing that Sanders has been firm in his stance against it and that his final support was indeed a compromise.

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The appearance is also part of a push on the part of Bernie Sanders to make inroads with non-white voters. For most of his campaign, Sanders has trailed Hillary Clinton by large margins among this important group, but he has been steadily chipping away at her lead. This week he gained an important endorsement from LUCHA, an Arizona-based Latino rights group that before now had never made a political endorsement.“Every day, we hear the stories of Moms working at fast-food restaurants for 11 years and only making $11 an hour and students who want to get more involved but their tuition is squeezing them,” said Alejandra Gomez, co-executive director of LUCHA. “At every turn, our community is being squeezed, and the only candidate speaking for them is Bernie.”

A report from NBC News noted that Bernie Sanders is gaining more and more support among Latino voters.

“While our national surveys have shown little discernible trend among all Democrats since the Iowa Caucuses, the movement among Latino voters suggests that a critical part of the so-called firewall of support that Clinton’s campaign had hoped to rely on among non-white Democrats may be crumbling.”

There appears to be more work to do with black voters, especially low-income black voters, the Los Angeles Times noted. Sanders is still struggling to win over voters in states like South Carolina, where Hillary Clinton remains the far-and-away favorite. Some political followers believe Clinton’s long tenure on the national stage is working in her favor.

“She has a three-decade head start,” said Gibbs Knotts, chairman of the political science department at the College of Charleston. “It’s hard for Sanders to make up that kind of ground in a pretty short period of time.”

Bernie Sanders has been making up ground among black voters but on the state-level and in national polls, but still trails Hillary Clinton by double-digit margins. If Sanders were to make a statement on Super Tuesday, it could take stronger outreach and more directed appearance like this week’s appearance on The Breakfast Club, political experts say.


4 thoughts on “Bernie Sanders On ‘The Breakfast Club:’ Marijuana Should Be Removed From Federal Controlled Substances Act, Arrests Unfairly Target Blacks

  1. Thank you Bernie. I am a 63year old woman fighting for my life after being diagnosed with a Stage 3C Lobular Carcinoma. I had regular mamograms and still it had spread to 22 lymph nodes. It is my understanding from my oncologist that the THC oil from canabis would benefit me, however it is still illegal in NC.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Purveyors of pot work to shake off the ‘Reefer Madness’ stigma, rebrand cannabis
    Alexandra Posadzki, The Canadian Press | March 14, 2016 12:48 PM ET

    The 1936 film Reefer Madness: Medical marijuana growers say they are fighting decades of misinformation about pot — that the film contributed to — in an effort to rebrand their product.

    TORONTO — You won’t find brightly coloured bongs or bubble gum-flavoured rolling papers displayed against the backdrop of exposed brick and modern, industrial-style furnishings at Tokyo Smoke.

    Canada’s licensed pot producers face uncertainty after court says patients can grow their own

    In a decision Wednesday, federal court judge Michael Phelan gave patients the right to grow their own marijuana, arguing the current system restricts access to the drug
    Read on
    Instead, the shop — located in a former shipping dock nestled between two warehouses in Toronto’s west end — carries high-end pot paraphernalia befitting the pages of a design magazine while also serving up cups of artisanal coffee.

    Pipes handcrafted by California-based ceramicist Ben Medansky sit alongside a pricey portable vaporizer, a reimagined version of the French press coffeemaker launched via a Kickstarter campaign and a selection of what shop owner Alan Gertner calls “museum quality collectibles” — items such as vintage Barbies and a vintage Hermes bag.

    It’s all part of Gertner’s mission to create a cannabis-friendly lifestyle brand that caters to the urban intellectual — one that breaks the mould of dated weed associations involving video games and junk food.

    ‘We are going to take the time to do this right’: Blair says pot laws will be enforced until legalization
    “I don’t think there is a home for someone who’s buying Mast Brothers chocolate and drinking the nicest coffee to have a similar experience in pot,” says Gertner, who quit his job at Google to launch the brand.

    “It’s no different from someone who has beautiful stemware in their home for alcohol. We ritualize and love our experiences, and I think we should have the same thing with cannabis.”

    The emergence of a luxury cannabis-oriented lifestyle brand like Tokyo Smoke is the latest development in a saga that has seen the purveyors of pot work to reshape popular perceptions of the drug.

    Until more recently, those efforts have been aimed at trying to demonstrate the drug’s medical legitimacy.

    Philippe Lucas, a vice-president at Nanaimo, B.C.-based grower Tilray, says decades of propaganda — including the well-known 1936 flick “Reefer Madness” — have made rebranding marijuana a challenging task.

    “I think the stigma is completely understandable when we look at the 70 years of misinformation, propaganda and drug war rhetoric that’s come out of Canada and the U.S.,” says Lucas, who is also the executive director of the Canadian Medical Cannabis Council.

    Adding to the difficulty are Health Canada regulations that prevent medical marijuana producers from making health claims in their advertising materials — rules which also apply to the broader pharmaceutical industry.

    Canadian cannabis producers have used a variety of strategies to change perceptions about the drug, including moving away from the street names typically used to identify strains.

    Mettrum, Bowmanville, Ont.-based grower, uses a colour-coded spectrum — red being the strongest, yellow the mildest — to identify each product’s strength and other characteristics.

    “We came up with a responsible dialogue for talking about cannabis that doctors would want to use, versus talking about strains like purple kush or super lemon haze,” says Mettrum’s CEO Michael Haines.

    Handout Mettrum
    Handout MettrumOntario medical Marijuana grower Mettrum’s created a strength coding system to replace pot culture’s more esoteric naming conventions. [See original article for the color code. Max. strength appears to be ca. 17% THC which is still pretty low for fighting cancer?]

    Tokyo Smoke doesn’t sell cannabis in Canada yet, but the company is on the cusp of launching a line of four marijuana strains south of the border, titled “Go,” “Relax,” “Relief” and “Balance” — names chosen to appeal to the so-called creative class.

    “It’s always funny for me to think of sophisticated intellectuals smoking strawberry-cheesecake branded cannabis,” says Gertner.

    Another strategy employed by cannabis producers has been to promote the drug to physicians in a bid to boost patient numbers.

    Jordan Sinclair, communications manager at Ontario-based grower Tweed, says that while talking to doctors is important, producers also need to find ways to differentiate themselves from the competition.

    One way that Tweed, a subsidiary of Canopy Growth Corp., has set out to do that is by partnering with rapper Snoop Dogg in a deal announced last month.

    “There’s lots of different producers in Canada, and we’re all growing a pretty similar product,” says Sinclair. “You want to make sure that people see you as a compelling choice.”



    Former Nixon Aide Claims ‘War on Drugs’ Invented to Suppress Black People
    John Ehrlichman reportedly said that the drug policies of the Nixon administration were used to “disrupt the black community.”
    Posted: March 22 2016 7:31 PM
    Former President Richard Nixon gives the thumbs-up after announcing his resignation from the presidency after the Watergate scandal Aug. 9, 1974.
    President Richard Nixon’s chief domestic adviser during the 1971 launch of the “war on drugs” said that he invented the president’s drug policies so that the administration could neutralize its enemies, specifically “the anti-war left and black people,” according to an article in Harper’s Magazine.

    John Ehrlichman, who served 18 months in prison for his role in the Nixon White House’s Watergate scandal, reportedly bared his (dark) soul to journalist Dan Baum in 1994, and those words made it into Baum’s April Harper’s cover story, “Legalize It All.”

    Ehrlichman, an integral part of the Nixon White House, an administration notorious for its abuse of power (again, Watergate), reportedly referred to the anti-war left and blacks as enemies of the Nixon regime, and outlined a method by which it “could disrupt those communities”:

    “ … We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

    The journalist then writes, “I must have looked shocked. Ehrlichman just shrugged. Then he looked at his watch, handed me a signed copy of his steamy spy novel, The Company, and led me to the door.”

    Baum said that Ehrlichman seemed ready to “unburden” himself when they spoke. Ehrlichman died in 1999.

    Given the kid-gloves disparity seen in the government’s response to the current, “whiter” heroin epidemic, and the fact that the black community was heavily criminalized and severely disrupted via the drug war, we know that Ehrlichman’s words were definitely prescient. But planned, systematic racial targeting?

    Maybe you should give that friend of yours who always has some “conspiracy theory” another listen.

    Read the entire piece at Harper’s Magazine.



    by Christopher Ingraham March 24 2016

    Cannabis buds are shown on first day of legal recreational marijuana sales last October in Portland, Ore. (Steve Dipaola/Reuters)
    A group of 22 medical experts convened by Johns Hopkins University and The Lancet have called today for the decriminalization of all nonviolent drug use and possession. Citing a growing scientific consensus on the failures of the global war on drugs, the experts further encourage countries and U.S. states to “move gradually toward regulated drug markets and apply the scientific method to their assessment.”

    Their report comes ahead of a special UN General Assembly Session on drugs to be held next month, where the world’s countries will re-evaluate the past half-century of drug policy and, in the hope of many experts, chart a more public health-centered approach going forward.

    In a lengthy review of the state of global drug policy, the Hopkins-Lancet experts conclude that the prohibitionist anti-drug policies of the past 50 years “directly and indirectly contribute to lethal violence, disease, discrimination, forced displacement, injustice and the undermining of people’s right to health.” They cite, among other things:

    A “striking increase” in homicide in Mexico since the government decided to militarize its response to the drug trade in 2006. The increase has been so great that experts have had to revise life expectancy downward in that country;

    The “excessive use” of incarceration as a drug control measure, which the experts identify as the “biggest contribution” to higher rates of HIV and Hepatitis C infection among drug users;
    Stark racial disparities in drug law enforcement, particularly in the United States;

    And human rights violations arising from excessively punitive drug control measures, including an increase in the torture and abuse of drug prisoners in places like Mexico.

    “The goal of prohibiting all use, possession, production and trafficking of illicit drugs is the basis of many of our national drug laws, but these policies are based on ideas about drug use and drug dependence that are not scientifically grounded,” said Commissioner Dr. Chris Beyrer of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in a statement.

    For instance, the last time the UN held a special session on drugs, in 1998, it set itself the goal of a “drug-free world” by 2008. The Hopkins-Lancet commissioners also fault UN drug regulators for failing to distinguish between drug use and drug abuse. “The idea that all drug use is dangerous and evil has led to enforcement-heavy policies and has made it difficult to see potentially dangerous drugs in the same light as potentially dangerous foods, tobacco and alcohol, for which the goal of social policy is to reduce potential harms,” they write.

    The commissioners cite research showing that “of an estimated 246 million people who used an illicit drug in the past year, 27 million (around 11%) experienced problem drug use, which was defined as drug dependence or drug-use disorders.”

    “The idea that all drug use is necessarily ‘abuse’ means that immediate and complete abstinence has been seen as the only acceptable approach,” commissioner Adeeba Kamarulzaman, a professor at the University of Malaya, said in a statement. But, she added, “continued criminalization of drug use fuels HIV, hepatitis C and tuberculosis transmission within prisons and the community at large. There is another way. Programmes and policies aimed at reducing harm should be central to future drug policies.”

    The commissioners point to successes in drug decriminalization experiments in places like Portugal, where drug use rates have fallen, overdose deaths are rare and new HIV infections among drug users have plummeted. They recommend that other countries adopt a similar approach.

    And beyond decriminalization, the commissioners recommend experimenting with the full legalization and regulation of certain types of drug use, as several U.S. states have done with marijuana.

    “Although regulated legal drug markets are not politically possible in the short term in some places, the harms of criminal markets and other consequences of prohibition catalogued in this Commission will probably lead more countries (and more U.S. states) to move gradually in that direction—a direction we endorse,” they write.

    Other countries, particularly in Latin America, are already looking toward U.S. marijuana legalization experiments as a blueprint for how they might move away from overly punitive drug laws. But one challenge toward adopting a less stringent drug policy has always been the massive UN drug control treaties, which are now decades-old and which experts say reflect outdated and even harmful ways of thinking about drug use.

    Reformers are hoping that the upcoming General Assembly Special Session on drugs will mark a turning point in the drug war. But getting nearly 200 countries to agree on any change in direction will be a challenge. And early indications appear to be that negotiators are setting their sights low.

    A draft document of the resolution to be discussed at the special session reaffirms the UN’s “commitment to the goals and objectives of the three international drug control conventions” — the same conventions criticized in the Hopkins-Lancet report. And it calls on countries to “actively promote a society free of drug abuse,” echoing the language of the failed drug control goals of the 1990s.

    Christopher Ingraham writes about politics, drug policy and all things data. He previously worked at the Brookings Institution and the Pew Research Center.



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