Senator Bernie Sanders participated in a panel with a number of famous individuals, including Ben Cohen, the founder of Ben and Jerry’s, actor Danny Glover, and rapper Killer Mike.
During the panel, Cohen shared that he had been arrested in his youth for smoking marijuana. Officers charged him for littering based on their discretion, and he also shared that it was unlikely that he would have been charged with the minor infraction had he been black. He also shared that he does not believe that he would have been afforded loans for his ice cream business if he were black.
Rapper Killer Mike indicated that the “war on drugs, we know for from history, has been a tremendous failure” and it “was never a war on drugs, it was a war on progressive white kids and black people.” He added, “But we have a greater opportunity, and the greater opportunity is this: marijuana is going to be legal in our lifetime,” he said. “Beyond getting a little stoned in the morning, which I didn’t do this morning because I knew I had to come see you guys, marijuana provides through hemp paper, alternative to plastics, it provides jobs, resources, dispensaries.” He also indicated that “as for me and my stoner friends, we’ll be buying Ben & Jerry’s and voting for Bernard Sanders.”
Glover shared that Rapper Killer Mike’s plan is the “real green new deal that we need right here.””
After continuing and then closing the discussion, Sanders asked the audience to raise their hand if they knew someone arrested for marijuana.
After audience members raised their hands, Sanders stated
“It has criminalized so many people in this room. This is amazing.” He added, “The war on drugs has been incredibly destructive for millions and millions of people in this country and we’re going to end that war on drugs and we’re going to make marijuana legal.”