Bernie Sanders, according to The Washington Post, is going to propose that marijuana be removed from the schedule of drugs listed under the Controlled Substances Act. Needless to say, this would be HUGE news with national ramifications, if successful. Marijuana is currently a Schedule I drug, slated as being highly addictive, without any medical properties, a scheduling that goes against science and common sense. Advocates and policymakers have long debated about the proper scheduling of marijuana, with many calling for marijuana to be removed from list of scheduled drugs altogether, just as alcohol and tobacco aren’t listed. Removing cannabis from the list of scheduled drugs would be huge for the cannabis community and industry, effectively allowing states to regulate marijuana as they see fit.
Advocates have long hoped for a bold marijuana policy proposal from Senator Sanders and he has provided good signs that he was moving in such a direction. Sanders is expected to make this important policy proposal during a student town hall at George Mason University that starts at 7pm on the East Coast. (Watch the livestream of the town hall on YouTube!) It is fitting that Sanders would make this announcement to college students as young people greatly support ending cannabis prohibition and are usually the targets of law enforcement actions that can greatly hurt their educational and employment opportunities.
The Washington Post reports:
“Too many Americans have seen their lives destroyed because they have criminal records as a result of marijuana use,” Sanders says in prepared remarks for the event provided to The Washington Post. “That’s wrong. That has got to change.”
No other presidential candidate has called for marijuana to be completely removed from the schedule of controlled substances regulated by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Sanders’s plan would not automatically make marijuana legal nationwide, but states would be allowed to regulate the drug in the same way that state and local laws now govern sales of alcohol and tobacco. And people who use marijuana in states that legalize it would no longer be at risk of federal prosecution.
His plan would also allow marijuana businesses currently operating in states that have legalized it to use banking services and apply for tax deductions that are currently unavailable to them under federal law.
If The Washington Post is correct, and Sanders does indeed call for the de-scheduling of cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, marijuana law reformers will be energized to assist his candidacy even more than they already have as this will put the Vermont Senator’s cannabis policy leaps and bounds above any other serious candidate. The momentum behind the cannabis law reform movement will only increase with such a policy proposal from a leading presidential candidate. Cannabis has medicinal properties and is both less addictive and toxic than alcohol and tobacco, making de-scheduling a common-sense policy. With a majority of Americans support legalizing cannabis legalization, the policy proposal is good politics as well.