Bernie Is Down With Pot, But Will Clinton Inhale?

Bernie Sanders's camp says he supports marijuana operations as an industry in Indian country. "But does Hillary Clinton?" asks Simon Moya-Smith.

Bernie Sanders’s camp says he supports marijuana operations as an industry in Indian country. “But does Hillary Clinton?” asks Simon Moya-Smith.

I was sitting at the center of my unstable dining room table recently, nibbling on a pot brownie and watching the ugliness of this presidential campaign unfold on mainstream news, when I wondered: Where do Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton stand on the subject of medicinal or recreational marijuana operations on reservations?

So, I reached out to the Clinton camp for comment, and thus far they haven’t responded. They’re currently dealing with the backlash to Bill’s comment about how “the Black Lives Matter movement protects criminals,” said a fiscally conservative Clinton supporter I met here in Denver last night. Hillary’s Native American Advisor, Charlie Galbraith, told me last week by phone that it would go to one of Hillary’s senior staff campaign wizards to comment on the budding weed business in Indian country. Galbraith said he’d try to get me a response as soon as possible, but in journalism time that was years ago.

But Bernie’s folks responded within a matter of hours:

“Bernie supports the right for states to opt for legalization of marijuana, and as a strong supporter of tribal sovereignty, that same stance would apply to tribal nations as well,” Nicole Willis [Confederated Tribes of Umatilla], Sanders’s National Tribal Outreach Director, wrote in message.

“Senator Sanders fully supports tribal sovereignty and economic development initiatives in Native America,” Tara Houska [Couchiching First Nation], Native American Advisor to Sanders, and a fellow rabble rouser in her own right, said in a statement. “Marijuana decriminalization has significantly and positively impacted several state economies; sovereign tribal nations with strong, efficient regulatory and enforcement systems deserve this same opportunity.”

And still no call from the Clinton folks.

Full column here.


  1. Golgafrinchan Captain says

    Even Sanders’ support for legalization at the state or tribal level is still half-assed support but it’s a step in the right direction. The war on drugs is an abysmal failure for anyone who isn’t running for-profit prisons. Drug use & abuse should be primarily a heath services issue, not a criminal one.

    Yes, there are criminal issues with organised crime’s distribution of drugs but they are also primarily a result of prohibition.

  2. says

    Oh yes, it’s well recognized as half-ass, but it’s better than nothing. Growing weed is a huge issue for many nations, not only as a way to make money, but it’s an issue of sovereignty as well.

    As for the so-called “war on drugs”, I have nothing but spit and contempt.

  3. Golgafrinchan Captain says

    I’d love to hear him state support for allowing your neighbours to legalize as well. Now that our prime minister has put legalization in the queue, treaties are our biggest obstacle. And Bush really leaned on Mexico when they wanted to do it.

    Regarding the money from growing weed, the fibers are immensely useful and profitable, aside from the medicinal/recreational aspects (as most people here probably already know).

  4. Golgafrinchan Captain says

    Re my #3,

    I realize that there’s no reason for him to make statements at this time about Canada & Mexico legalizing. It is unlikely to gain him any votes and might scare some xenophobes. It’d just make me happy.

  5. says

    Golgafrinchan Captain:

    Regarding the money from growing weed, the fibers are immensely useful and profitable, aside from the medicinal/recreational aspects (as most people here probably already know).

    Oh yeah. Actually, hemp is one of the best crops to grow in farm country, as it is a profitable crop, but has greater value in being able to completely revive a fallow field in one growing season. So, it’s the best possible crop for rotation. Here in North Dakota, it’s legal to grow hemp, but just go ahead and try it -- legal or not, it doesn’t stop the fucking DEA from descending on you and destroying everything in sight.

  6. says

    Adding to mine ^ -- this is hemp, you couldn’t get stoned off the stuff if you tried, but it doesn’t matter to the DEA.

  7. says

    And still no call from the Clinton folks.

    Clinton has the courage to gloat about the rapemurder of a national leader, but not to offer an opinion about weed? Talk about messed up priorities.

    Christopher Hitchens said that the Clintons enjoyed their weed plenty; they just preferred it in brownies rather than smoking it -- which is why Clinton’s answer was typically simultaneously precise and mendacious.

  8. says


    preferred it in brownies

    Much like Simon Moya-Smith. And myself. I just wish to fuck people would stop being so damn stupid about it. Yet another thing to lay at Reagan’s doorstep.

  9. Golgafrinchan Captain says

    @ Marcus Ranum,

    That was a great article. Legalizing weed is a no-brainer but the greater good would likely be served by (carefully) extending it to other drugs.

    I liked the idea in the article of users pre-setting their limit for harder drugs when they’re of sound mind, so they can’t as easily get caught in a binge.

  10. says


    I read today that the state of Victoria, Australia is legalising medicinal cannabis.

    Good for them, it’s a start. I think weed should be legal, everywhere. If weed was legalized in uStates, and taxed, it would clear up half the bloody deficit in days.

  11. says

    Much like Simon Moya-Smith. And myself.

    I made a bunch of cana-butter that turned out kind of like cana-ghee. So I made cana-popcorn. It was sublime.
    A friend once gave me a bunch of their cana-butter (mine was better) so I made it into chocolate rum truffles. It worked!

  12. says


    Interesting! I’ll have to try that. Not that I have weed in the house, I would never. Really.

    The most stoned I ever got outside of smoking was from a slow decoction of stems, cooked for 2.5 days or so, if I recall right. Made a nice tasting tea, and had a kick you would not believe.

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