Issues

Reefer Sanity – Bernie Sanders Calls For Ending Federal Marijuana Regulations


Although Republicans are holding their debate in weed-friendly Colorado on Wednesday, it is Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders who plans to grab headlines for his position on marijuana policy Wednesday night. Sanders is calling for marijuana to be removed from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) schedule of controlled substances.

Marijuana is currently classified as a schedule 1 drug, which means according to the federal government, it has a high potential for abuse and no medically acceptable use. The designation is absurd. However, politicians from both parties have dogmatically refused to lift the schedule 1 designation, ever since Republican President Richard Nixon first ignored his own commission’s findings to declare war on weed.

In prepared remarks sent to The Washington Post on Wednesday, Sanders declared:

Too many Americans have seen their lives destroyed because they have criminal records as a result of marijuana use. That’s wrong. That has got to change.

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If implemented, the changes Sanders advocates would overhaul federal marijuana policy and open the door for states to legalize marijuana without federal interference. His plan would also halt the DEA’s “marijuana eradication program,” and end their practice of raiding marijuana businesses. In addition, it would encourage medical marijuana research and enable marijuana businesses to use the nation’s banking system without encountering federal road blocks.

Sanders has been the most consistent 2016 presidential candidate in challenging the federal government’s maddeningly unjust marijuana policy. The Marijuana Policy Project gives Bernie Sanders an A grade for his positions on pot policy. Only Republican Rand Paul (A-), Democrat Hillary Clinton (B) and Republican Mike Huckabee (B-) also score grades higher than a C.

At the opposite extreme, Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Republican former Pennsylvania Rick Santorum both earn F grades from the Marijuana Policy Project.

America’s war on medical and recreational marijuana has gone on far too long and destroyed too many lives. Sanders is right to end that war and to call for reefer sanity instead of reefer madness.

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