Sen. Bernie Sanders Proposes Pulling Feds Out of Marijuana Regulation Entirely

Leave it to the states, he says.


"Have you ever looked at your hands? I mean, REALLY looked at your hands?"
Credit: Gage Skidmore / photo on flickr

Sen. Bernie Sanders is apparently not without a level of media savvy. As Republican candidates kick off a debate in Colorado, a state that has very notably legalized marijuana use (we don't know as yet if it will come up in the debate itself), Sanders is getting press proposing a radical (to non-libertarians) new federal marijuana policy.

At a town hall meeting at George Mason University in Virginia that was streamed out to hundreds of colleges, Sanders proposed yanking marijuana completely off the federal list of controlled substances. Gone. It would essentially make marijuana policy a state-level issue. From the Washington Post:

"Too many Americans have seen their lives destroyed because they have criminal records as a result of marijuana use," Sanders told the crowd, 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. …

Sanders's plan would not automatically make marijuana legal nationwide, but states would be allowed to regulate the drug in the same way that state and local laws now govern sales of alcohol and tobacco. And people who use marijuana in states that legalize it would no longer be at risk of federal prosecution.

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.

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