Bernie Sanders continued his support for sensible Drug War reforms by introducing a bill that would effectively end federal marijuana prohibition, treating cannabis similar to alcohol. Throughout the Democratic primary, Sanders has continued to unveil a progressive cannabis policy platform. The Vermont Senator has stated that the Drug War is a failure, that states should be able to legalize marijuana without interference and that the federal private prison industry should be abolished. Sanders energized and pleased the cannabis law reform community when he announced his proposal to remove marijuana from the list of federally controlled substances. TheHill.com reports:
The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act introduced Wednesday by Sanders would end the long-time federal prohibition on marijuana. This is the first Senate bill to propose legalizing recreational pot, according to marijuana advocates.
The legislation would remove the barriers for states that want to legalize recreational and medical marijuana without interference from the federal government. However, other states could still choose to prohibit pot.
The move could help Sanders further endear himself to younger voters as he seeks the Democratic presidential nomination. He became the first candidate from a major party to endorse marijuana legalization last week.
As The Huffington Post notes, Sanders’ bill has the backing of cannabis law reformers and a strong majority of Americans that now support cannabis legalization:
“This is the first time a bill to end federal marijuana prohibition has been introduced in the U.S. Senate,” said Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority. “A growing majority of Americans want states to be able to enact their own marijuana laws without harassment from the DEA, and lawmakers should listen. The introduction of this bill proves that the defeat of the Ohio marijuana monopoly measure that wasn’t widely supported in our movement isn’t doing anything to slow down our national momentum.”
“The science is clear that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol, and that should be reflected in our nation’s marijuana policy,” Marijuana Policy Project’s Mason Tvert said. “Sen. Sanders is simply proposing that we treat marijuana similarly to how we treat alcohol at the federal level, leaving most of the details to the states. It is a commonsense proposal that is long overdue in the Senate.”
A Gallup poll released last month found 58 percent of Americans are in favor of legalizing marijuana use.
Sanders rise to prominence as a legitimate challenge to Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton has come as a surprise to many, but he has crafted a progressive platform that is supported by a strong Democratic base this is likely to vote in primary elections. In addition to his policies, many voters are drawn to the insurgent candidate by his authenticity. Sanders’ support of cannabis legalization will only increase his support from Democratic primary voters who overwhelmingly support legalization and will likely reward him for supporting a common-sense position that many politicians are ridiculously afraid to touch.