Bernie Sanders Slams Federal Government for Drug War Hypocrisy

By May Wilkerson 09/11/15

The presidential hopeful tied the 2008 financial crisis to jailing non-violent drug offenders.

Bernie Sanders
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Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders has taken unequivocal aim at the hypocrisy of the United States’ drug war and criminal justice system.

Yesterday, the Department of Justice announced its plans to crack down on white-collar crime and to finally prosecute the Wall Street misconduct that fueled the 2008 financial crisis. But it’s too little, too late, according to the socialist senator from Vermont, who responded by slamming the government for not acting sooner.

"One of the biggest mistakes our government made after the financial crisis was not prosecuting the people responsible for the greed, recklessness and illegal behavior that crashed our economy and ruined the lives of millions of Americans," said Sanders in a statement to the Huffington Post. "It is not acceptable that many young people have criminal records for smoking marijuana, while the CEOs of banks whose illegal behavior helped destroy our economy do not."

In a memo released yesterday, the Department of Justice said it would now seek to hold both corporations and individual employees accountable for the crimes that drove the country into recession. But it may be too late, as the statute of limitations has expired for much of the misconduct that took place leading up to the 2008 crisis.

In the years since the crisis, a number of banks have pleaded guilty to felony charges, while individual bankers have avoided criminal prosecution. At the same time, more than 2.2 million Americans are behind bars, a staggering portion of them for low-level felonies involving marijuana and other drugs.

Sanders has been an outspoken critic of the war on drugs, tweeting last month, “There is no question that the war on drugs has been a failure.”

In 2014, he told TIME magazine he had “real concerns” about U.S. drug policy. "We have been engaged in [the war on drugs] for decades now with a huge cost and the destruction of a whole lot of lives of people who were never involved in any violent activities," he said.

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.