At a speech yesterday at George Mason University, Bernie Sanders announced that he supported removing marijuana from Drug Enforcement Administration’s list of controlled substances, effectively decriminalizing the substance. According to The Washington Post, Sanders is the only candidate to consider removing marijuana entirely from the federal list of dangerous drugs.
As of now, marijuana has the same classification as heroin, which makes sense. Heroin is highly addictive and can kill you the first time you do it. Marijuana gives you the munchies and a better appreciation of music. Those two drugs are definitely on par.
Of the Democratic candidates still running for office, former Governor Martin O’Malley has suggested moving marijuana to schedule 2 (instead of schedule 1), which would mean less regulation than it currently has and more flexibility for researchers to study its effects. Hillary Clinton has opted for the “wait and see” approach — waiting and seeing how well it’s doing in Colorado before coming out with an actual stance. This is in stark contrast to her feelings on marijuana earlier in her career, when she called it a gateway drug to harder drugs. Baby steps.
On the Republican side, there is little support for recreational marijuana use. Carly Fiorina’s step-daughter died at 34-years-old after abusing alcohol and prescription pain pills, and Fiorina has found a way to blame marijuana. Jeb Bush is against the legalization of pot despite admitting to trying it in high school and receiving absolutely no legal consequences for it, but he is a Bush and therefore above the law. Libertarian Rand Paul is reasonable on the subject, believing the states should decide the legality of pot and understanding that laws against weed only end up persecuting poor kids. Marco Rubio, the GOP’s confused idea of “young and hip,” is firmly opposed to marijuana legalization.
Legalizing marijuana wouldn’t completely solve our national problem of high incarceration rates, but it would definitely help. According to the ACLU, 8.2 million people were arrested between 2001 and 2010 for marijuana, and a full 88% of them merely for possession. America, the land of the free!
Vox reports that Sanders is on the same page as the 58% of Americans who believe marijuana should be fully legalized. It’s a whole new way to Feel the Bern.
Featured image via Flickr