On Wednesday night Bernie Sanders appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live. The outspoken Senator and Democratic candidate for president talked about many things during his segments. However, the one that has captured the attention of the nation the most were his comments on the legalization of Marijuana.
The uproar that ensued over these few, fleeting comments got me thinking. Could it be that in 2015 one of the major talking points for a presidential election will be centered around marijuana?
I believe that it will and here are three reasons why.
1. It Is The New Social Issue
We now live in a world where homosexual marriage is legal in all fifty states. There is still more work to be done when it comes to sexual equality in this country, but the victory that has been won has left a major vacuum for a lynch pin social issue going into 2016.
I believe that the legalization of marijuana will be that social issue. The reason why ties into my next point.
2. The Youth Vote Has Never Been More Important
Barack Obama hinted at it and now Bernie Sanders is proving it: the youth vote is now more powerful than ever.
In both 2008 and 2012 Obama was catapulted to success by focusing on issues that mattered to young people; and back then those were sexual equality, student loans, and job creation.
Today the voice of the young people is, shockingly, 75-year-old Bernie Sanders. Sanders is still talking about student loan issues and job creation for graduating millennials, but he has now added that third heat to the equation. He no longer has gender equality to hoist as a rallying cry for the youth vote and so he has had to find that next big social issue.
I believe that by speaking about marijuana on Kimmel’s show he is beginning to position it as a cornerstone of his campaign.
3. It Is A Gateway Issue
Many have accused marijuana of being a “gateway drug” to harder things like Cocaine or Heroin. However, it is also a gateway political issue to harder issues such as the United States’ prison system.
On Kimmel’s show Sanders capitalized on his openness to the legalization of marijuana by linking it to the out of control rise of prison populations in the US.
This is the real power of marijuana as a political tool. Discussing it also allows you to discuss a myriad of other hot button topics. And if the cheers Sanders got on Kimmel’s show are any indication, these topics could be highly resonate with American voters.
Do you agree that marijuana will be a major point of discussion in this election? Let me know in the comments below.
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