Why Bernie Sanders’s marijuana announcement is a big political moment for pot

29 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Sanders proposes nixing marijuana from federal list of dangerous drugs.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. One day in the perhaps-not-too-distant future, when we — not the royal we, of course — light up a joint and reflect on how marijuana became as accepted and as legal as alcohol and cigarettes in this country, Sen.It should have been a big night for marijuana politics: A gathering of ten Republican presidential candidates who oppose the drug in a state where it’s not only legal but lucrative, generating $150 million in state revenue.

Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders announced his support Wednesday for removing marijuana from a list of the most dangerous drugs outlawed by the federal government — a move that would free states to legalize it without impediments from Washington. To make the subject even more enticing, Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders chose the same night to back the end of federal marijuana prohibition, becoming the first major party candidate to do so. The self-described “democratic socialist” senator from Vermont shared his proposal during a nearly two-hour town hall meeting with college students that he said was broadcast on the Internet to about 300 campuses across the country from George Mason University in Fairfax County, Va. “Too many Americans have seen their lives destroyed because they have criminal records as a result of marijuana use,” Sanders told a live audience of more than 1,700 students, which erupted with applause. “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. And in fact, when CNBC moderator Carl Quintanilla first raised the issue, deep into the second and final hour of the conversation, he was cut off by candidates trying to discuss other issues. “Oh, no, no, no,” Quintanilla protested, but Cruz rolled straight through the traffic cones. “Rand is exactly right.

Long-shot Democratic hopeful Martin O’Malley, the former governor of Maryland, has said that he would put marijuana on Schedule 2, a less-strict designation. His plan is a good plan, and I will note that my 10% plan also eliminates the payroll tax, eliminates the death tax.” “Ok,” Quintanilla said, turning once again to perhaps the only illegal drug that 100 million Americans have tried at least once, and that tens of millions of Americans care about with an almost religious zeal. “Governor Kasich, let’s talk about marijuana.

The party’s front-runner, Hillary Rodham Clinton, has repeatedly said she wants to see how legalization experiments in Colorado, Washington and other states play out before committing to any changes at the federal level. Governor Hickenlooper is not a big fan of legalization, but he’s said the people who used to be smoking it are still smoking it, they’re just now paying taxes.” Finally, the moment had arrived. This is a shift in position for Sanders, who earlier this year in an interview with Yahoo! said that marijuana is a “gateway drug” that can lead to heroin and cocaine use. We’re still quite a ways from that becoming a reality, despite the most recent Gallup polling showing a substantial majority of Americans support legalizing recreational marijuana and a few states moving to do just that in recent years. Under the plan, states would have the right to regulate marijuana the same way that state and local laws currently govern the sale of alcohol and tobacco.

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. The topic has been a key issue on the 2016 presidential campaign trail, and several candidates have expressed a willingness to let states set their own marijuana laws. In a 2013 memo, the Justice Department essentially agreed to look the other way in states where marijuana is legal, provided that the marijuana industry in those states remained in compliance with state laws. First, the medical community at large would agree with Sanders that pot is not as dangerous as, say, crack cocaine and heroin and the other highly addictive drugs it is currently classified with.

We could do a whole show on that.” Fiorina, Christie and Bush made similar comments at the last GOP debate, splicing the politics of marijuana and heroin. Respected organizations like the American Medical Association have also said keeping marijuana on a legally unreachable shelf stymies research for its healing potentials. And Fiorina unveiled the painful personal story of her daughter’s drug overdose, even though that tragedy was fueled by prescription pills and alcohol, according to the candidate’s memoir.

According to a Gallup poll released last week, 58 percent of Americans say that the use of marijuana should be legal, a seven-point year-over-year increase. “Younger Americans, Democrats and independents are the most likely of major demographic and political groups to favor legalizing use of the drug, while Republicans and older Americans are least likely to do so,” Gallup reports. But she stopped short of endorsing recreational legalization, saying she wants “to find out a lot more than we know today” about the experiences of states like Colorado and Washington. In the first debate in Las Vegas last month, Clinton noted her support of medical marijuana and backed stopping the imprisonment of people who use marijuana. The senator said if some states went forward, it could lead to new revenues for states that could be used to fight the effects of substance abuse from drugs like heroin that have ravaged communities. “It is time to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol. But in July, conservative House Republicans killed a bipartisan proposal to create a sub-class for marijuana so that researchers could simply study the substance legally and offer fresh guidance on whether it should continue to be classified alongside drugs such as heroin and ecstasy.

In Congress, there’s also a steady — if not slow — push by a growing number of lawmakers to ease federal restrictions for medical and recreational use. He and and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley (D) have said they’d support bumping down a notch the government’s classification of pot as a drug.

It seems only a matter of time before more politicians join Sanders in taking more definitive policy positions that move along the drug’s slow but apparently inevitable march toward acceptance in America.

Our partners
Follow us
Contact us
Our contacts

About this site