Bernie Sanders Pledges to Reform Federal Marijuana Laws| 0
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, just endorsed ending the federal criminalization of marijuana.
“Right now, marijuana is listed by the federal government as a Schedule I drug—meaning that it is considered to be as dangerous as heroin. That is absurd,” Sanders said at a rally with a large group of college students on Wednesday night.
“In my view, the time is long overdue for us to remove the federal prohibition on marijuana,” he continued. “In my view, states should have the right to regulate marijuana the same way that state and local laws now govern the sale of alcohol and tobacco. And among other things, that means that recognized businesses in states that have legalized marijuana should be fully able to use the banking system without fear of federal prosecution.”
If Sanders turns his campaign proposal into legislation, it will mark the first time in history that a bill to end federal marijuana prohibition has been introduced in the U.S. Senate.
Dan Riffle, a Congressional lobbyist for the Marijuana Policy Project, said on Twitter that legislation is coming, and that it will look similar to a 2011 House bill which would have exempted marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act except for maintaining a prohibition on transporting or shipping the drug to places that have not legalized it.
— Dan Riffle (@DanRiffle) October 28, 2015
“In 2015, it is time for the federal government to let states go forward as they best choose,” Sanders said at the rally. “It is time to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol. It is time to end the arrests of so many people and the destruction of so many lives for possessing marijuana.”
Earlier this month, Sanders made history at CNN’s Democratic debate by becoming the first major presidential candidate to indicate that he would personally vote for a legalization ballot measure if given the chance.
The time is long overdue for us to take marijuana off the federal government’s list of outlawed drugs.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) October 29, 2015
Sanders’s campaign also launched a marijuana petition on its website on Wednesday, indicating that top strategists surrounding the candidate see the inherent list-building and fundraising value in taking on a strong, visible leadership role on the issue.
Click here to find out what else Bernie Sanders and other presidential candidates have said about marijuana.