Bernie Sanders Marijuana Remark Misleads Americans

Bishop Ron Allen, International Faith-Based Coalition

According to Bishop Ron Allen, President of the International Faith Based Coalition, Bernie Sanders’ remarks favoring legalization of marijuana, which has the support of Alice Huffman, President of the California NAACP, appear more related to financial contributions than good sense, or what is best for America.

According to Bishop Allen, “Our civil rights leaders of years past must be turning over in their graves that our oldest civil rights organization is calling for an increase in young people getting high as a solution to discrimination; or that a candidate for President is so unenlightened

on the enormous personal, social and economic impacts that marijuana is having on our youth and environment. Both Sanders and Huffman are a threat to our nation’s security and what it will take to help young people of color to escape their plight in under-served communities.”

The disproportionate arrest rate for African-Americans is primarily reflective of socio-economic factors. Making marijuana more available won’t fix the problem just make it worse.

Marijuana is rightly categorized as a Schedule I drug because it is harmful. It can cause permanent, physical and chemical alterations of the brain leading to loss of IQ, motivation, maturation, academicachievement and productivity. It has a particularly devastating impact on the brain of anyone under age 25, but particularly adolescents, which in turn adversely affects school performance.

Nationally, only 70% of African-American kids graduate from high school on time. High school dropouts make an average of $25,000 per annum vs $46,000 for those who graduate; they have higher unemployment rates; worse health and more demands on Medicare and Medicaid; and they commit 75% of crimes. 70% of dropouts come from low-income families. 80% of prisoners are high school dropouts. It is a self-perpetuating problem.

The answer to all of these problems starts with higher graduation rates, academic achievement and higher incomes. To that end, less marijuana and other drugs are critical … not more.  In Sacramento, 59% of arrestees test positive for marijuana, 83% for any drug. Since crime rates are up 38%, as reported by the Sacramento Bee, perhaps it’s time we elect people that understand that to cut crime we need less drugs … not more.

Bernie Sanders Marijuana Remarks Show Misunderstanding About Drug Use and Incarceration

Sanders showed he’s misinformed by saying too many people are incarcerated for marijuana. Nobody today is incarcerated for simple possession. In California the fine for one ounce of marijuana in possession (60-120 joints) is a non-escalating fine of $100, about 1/4th the fine for a red light violation.

Of those in federal prison, less than 1/3rd of 1 percent are there for “simple possession” because they plea bargained down, and/or had other offenses. On average, they had 115 lbs. of marijuana in possession. That isn’t simple possession. That is drug dealing.

For roughly 30% of the population who are vulnerable, marijuana can lead to life-long chronic illnesses of schizophrenia, paranoia and bi-polar disorders. Over 500,000 people are admitted to Emergency Rooms yearly because of psychotic episodes, which have and are causing violent acts of murder and suicides. Addiction to marijuana will enslave 9 to 17% of marijuana users, which will ruin individual lives and entire families, and place a further social and economic burden on all Americans. The lifetime cost of one high school dropout is $392,000 (UC Santa Barbara High School Dropout Research).

Says Bishop Allen, “…It is time we elect leaders who are more motivated by the truth than personal contributions to their campaigns. Neither Bernie Saunders nor Alice Hoffman are deserving of the jobs they hold or seek. After 6 ½ years of no federal enforcement of marijuana laws, we desperately need leaders who are knowledgeable and motivated to protect our youth.  If they have no future, neither do we as a nation.”

Bishop Dr. Ron Allen is the Founder of “The International Faith Based Coalition” (IFBC) whose mission is to unite religions with a common cause to implement Drug Prevention Education in their respective congregations. Their focus is on educating youth about the dangers of drug abuse and makes no distinction as to race religion or creed and adversely affects people of all faiths. IFBC Offices are located at 10702 Alicante Way, Rancho Cordova, CA, 95670, call 916-807-1210, or visit them on the web at

People do get prison sentences for smoking marijuana in the US. Perhaps Sen. Sanders should look at the prisoner data before reiterating this ridiculous claim.