Bernie Sanders Moves To End Marijuana Prohibition With New Bill

Bernie Sanders Moves To End Marijuana Prohibition With New Bill

Hours after introducing the radical “Keep it in the Ground” climate change bill, 2016 Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders introduced a bill that would end the federal prohibition of marijuana.

The “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act” is the successor to a 2013 bill introduced by Representative Jared Polis (D-Colo.).

“Just as alcohol prohibition failed in the 1920s, it’s clear marijuana prohibition is failing today,” Polis said in a statement.

“For decades, the federal ban on marijuana has wasted tax dollars, impeded our criminal justice system, lined the pockets of drug cartels, and trampled on states’ ability to set their own public health laws. … Today’s introduction of the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act in the Senate is a huge step forward in the movement to enact the commonsense drug laws needed to grow our economy and restore fairness to our justice system.”

In previous election seasons, introducing such a bill while running for the country’s highest office might have been political suicide, but attitudes toward marijuana have softened significantly in recent years. A Gallup poll conducted last month found 58 percent of Americans are for legalizing marijuana.

Last week, Senator Sanders argued that marijuana legalization will play a crucial role in reforming a broken criminal justice system.

In a speech at George Mason University, Sanders stated:

“In the United States we have 2.2 million people in jail today, more than any other country. And we’re spending about $80 billion a year to lock people up. We need major changes in our criminal justice system – including changes in drug laws.

“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.”

Tom Angell, the chairperson of Marijuana Majority, praised the newly introduced legislation:

“This is the first time a bill to end federal marijuana prohibition has been introduced in the U.S. Senate. A growing majority of Americans want states to be able to enact their 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.”

Mason Tvert of the Marijuana Policy Project was also positive:

“The science is clear that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol, and that should be reflected in our nation’s marijuana policy. 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.”


Photo by Key Studio

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Timothy Bertrand is an author and journalist from Houston, Texas. He is the Associate Editor at Reverb Press and splits his time between covering breaking news and penning thoughtful literary essays.