Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders just introduced a groundbreaking marijuana reform bill in the Senate, which would remove marijuana completely from federal scheduling.
The bill, called the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2015, follows a speech from Sanders last week, in which he argued at George Mason University that marijuana should be removed from the list of Schedule I substances.
“In my view, the time is long overdue for us to remove the federal prohibition on marijuana,” Sanders said, according to MSNBC. ”In my view, states should have the right to regulate marijuana the same way that state and local laws now govern the sale of alcohol and tobacco.”
Sanders justified a looser stance towards marijuana from a position of civil rights.
Marijuana advocates lauded Sanders’ move.
“Senator Bernie Sanders, a staunch advocate of Cannabis legalization and one of the leading contenders for the Democratic Presidential Ticket has today made history,” Eddie Miller, chief strategy officer of GreenRush, a company which focuses on medical marijuana delivery systems, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “The political tides in the United States towards legalization of Cannabis have shifted permanently. For the first time ever a nationally prominent and leading Presidential candidate has officially endorsed the repeal of Cannabis Prohibition.”
While his stance is not an endorsement of full legalization of the drug, his speech distanced himself from other Democratic presidential candidates, as well as most Republicans, where anti-pot sentiments still hold water with candidates like Chris Christie and Ben Carson. Christie opposes recreational marijuana. Carson has pledged to ramp up the drug war. Sen. Marco Rubio said that he opposes legalizing the drug.
“This is the first time a bill to end federal marijuana prohibition has been introduced in the U.S. Senate,” Tom Angell, chairman of the Marijuana Majority, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “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.”
A majority of Americans, at 58 percent, think that marijuana should be legal in the United States.
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