Bernie Sanders, a presidential candidate, announced on Wednesday that he seeks to get rid of cannabis from the list of the most dangerous drugs prohibited by the federal governments. This would mean that states can freely legalize marijuana without impediments from Washington. Bernie Sanders made this statement during a town hall meeting with a group of students; this meeting was also broadcasted on the internet to over three hundred campuses across the country.

“Too many Americans have seen their lives destroyed because they have criminal records as a result of marijuana use,” Sanders said at the meeting. “That’s wrong. That has got to change.”

This is the first time that we have seen a presidential candidate call for marijuana to be completely eradicated from the list of dangerous drugs by the Federal Government and Drug Enforcement Administration. The only other candidates to do something similar are Martin O’Malley, who said that he would make marijuana a Schedule 2 drug, which would lower the amount of restrictions placed on it. Hillary Clinton has said that she would need to see how legalization would work out in Colorado and Washington before she makes any decisions on the federal level.

Although Sander’s plan would not legalize marijuana nationally, it would allow states to regulate the drug in the same manner that they regulated tobacco and alcohol. Also, people who use marijuana in states in which it has been legalized would no longer need to fear federal prosecution. In addition, the plan would also help marijuana businesses by allowing them to be able to use banking services and have tax reductions.

In a memo in 2013, the Justice Department agreed to ignore the states that had legalized marijuana so long as they complied with the state laws. However, that memo is not binding and can be easily reversed by any new administration. Marijuana is currently considered a drug with no medical acceptance and a drug with “high potential for abuse.”


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