Marijuana

Bernie Sanders Unveils Legislation to Repeal Pot Prohibition

The bill, the first of its kind in the Senate, would let states decide whether to ban or regulate marijuana.

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GMU

Yesterday Bernie Sanders, the first major-party presidential candidate to endorse marijuana legalization, became the first U.S. senator to propose a bill repealing the federal ban on marijuana. Using language similar to the 21st Amendment, which repealed alcohol prohibition, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2015 says the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) "shall not apply to marihuana," except when people try to smuggle it into a state where it remains illegal. That offense would be punishable by a fine or up to a year in jail. The bill also removes "marihuana" and "tetrahydrocannabinols" from the CSA's list of controlled substances.

Sanders' bill is similar to the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, which was introduced in the House last February by Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.). Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a co-sponsor of that bill, takes a somewhat different approach in his Respect State Marijuana Laws Act, which he reintroduced in April. The latter bill simply states that the CSA shall "not apply to any person acting in compliance with State laws relating to the production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, or delivery of marihuana." Hence Rohrabacher's bill, unlike Sanders', leaves in place the current federal penalties for people who grow, possess, or distribute marijuana in states that have not legalized it.

Sanders, who has repeatedly decried the injustices inflicted by the war on marijuana, does not seem to have issued a statement in connection with his bill. I don't see anything about it on his Senate or campaign websites. But in a speech at George Mason University last week, the socialist senator from Vermont said "the time is long overdue for us to remove the federal prohibition on marijuana," because "states should have the right to regulate marijuana the same way that state and local laws now govern the sale of alcohol and tobacco."

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  1. That old dude is such a crank!

    http://www.CompletePrivacy.tk

    1. The Republicans are stupid-assed pussies. If Rand Paul isn’t their candidate they deserve to walk home with their teeth in their hats. I might even vote for Sanders. After sixteen years of losing (two terms for Sanders) the Republicans should just crawl into and corner and fucking die.

      1. A commie friend is trying to convince me to register as a Democrat so I can vote for Sanders in the primary.

      2. If you vote for Dictator Sanders just to annoy friends, you DESERVE a totalitarian government that takes 90% of everything you make and spends it all on patent leather boot polish.

        1. Sanders voters better get used to the taste of that boot polish, too.

  2. Pisses off proggies, fundies, and the enforcer class. It may be the Fly Burrito of election trolling

    1. *Flying Burrito

      1. Wait but don’t your kind eat fly burritos?

        1. Pretty fly for a reptile, guy

          1. *pretty narrow for a gaze*

    2. “Fly Burrito” made me think “Oh, that’s how Chipotle makes GMO-free burritos – bug meat!”

      1. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.

  3. Seems like a good compromise for the Bern. He gets to look like he’s progressive when it comes to cannabis, but he’s still ensuring that some government still has authority over the shrub. I mean, heaven forbid individual people be allowed to make the choice on their own. It would be chaos!

    1. Meh, he’s a U.S. senator. He can’t control what individual States do, and that is as it should be.

      1. I disagree. The fedgov’s most important job should be to protect the individual rights of its citizens regardless of which state they live in. People have a fundamental human right to smoke as much pot as they want.

        I realize this will not happen any time soon, given the fact that most people in this country are control-freaks, but I think the idea should be floated as often as possible. Being progressive on pot doesn’t mean respecting states’ rights. It means respecting individual rights.

        1. Even if we stipulate a right to smoke weed, we’d still have to locate the constitutional provision which empowers the federal government to protect that right.

          14th Amendment, Privilege and Immunities Clause, combined with Section 5 (Congressional enforcement)? I don’t think it covers weed, but at least you could try it on for size.

          1. 14th– Right to Privacy–Sec. 5

            See Ravin v. State 537 P.2d 494 (Alaska 1975) for a rationale as to how marijuana would be protected by the Right to Privacy

            1. That decision was based on Art. I, ? 22 of the Alaska constitution:

              “Right of Privacy

              “The right of the people to privacy is recognized and shall not be infringed. The legislature shall implement this section. [Amended 1972]”

              If you want to argue that the 14th Amendment, by some form of osmosis, has a parallel provision, by my guest. The Supreme Court was able to do it.

        2. Yeah, a state criminalizing drug use is just as horrible and immoral as the federal government doing it. Constitutionally it’s more acceptable, but the Constitution is a tool, not an end.

      2. But he doesn’t have to let the feds continue to police transport’n in viol’n of st. laws.

    2. It’s the same position as Ron and Rand Paul. Though I don’t think either would name the bill in such a silly and pro-regulation way.

    3. “Seems like a good compromise for the Bern. He gets to look like he’s progressive when it comes to cannabis, but he’s still ensuring that some government still has authority over the shrub. I mean, heaven forbid individual people be allowed to make the choice on their own. It would be chaos!”
      This really says it all about the wholesale non-commitment to freedom the progressive-left has. Everything they agree with should be mandatory, everything they disagree with should be banned.

  4. Good for him. Hopefully it gets traction. Will be interesting to see if Rand gets on board or if presidential politics stops him from doing so.

    1. I trust Rand will put principles ahead of team loyalty. Otherwise, how is he better than Cruz, Rubio, or even Christie?

      1. “or even Christie?”

        Oh come on now, thats just mean. don’t compare anyone to that fat piece of shit.

        1. How’s this for a comparison. Rand Paul looks like a human. Christie is looks like Jabba the Hutt.

          1. * …comparison?

        2. Christie has compassion, surprisingly.

          http://tinyurl.com/q2ngkjf

      2. Hyperbole much?

    2. If Rand “gets on board” with a policy he’s been pushing since Bernie was playing Useful Idiot in the Soviet Utopua?

  5. I’m dubious his reasons for introducing this right now, but I’m interested to see how it either gets perverted or simply dies a quick death.

    1. simply dies a quick death.

      Like Vince Foster?

  6. the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) “shall not apply to marihuana,” except when people try to smuggle it into a state where it remains illegal. … The bill also removes “marihuana” and “tetrahydrocannabinols” from the CSA’s list of controlled substances.

    uh….if they’re not on the list, then how does the CSA still apply to smuggling into prohibiting states?

    1. States’ rights.

    2. Commerce Clause. What else?

    3. Lemme try this again.

      If the proposed bill removes them from the CSA list of substances, how, under any circumstance, can the CSA then apply to substances that it no longer controls?

      1. The CSA also has provisions specific to marihuana, notwithstanding its general listing as a controlled substance.

        1. ah, ok.

          /facepalm

  7. So Bernie agrees with Obama that re-scheduling marijuana takes an act of Congress despite the language of the Controlled Substances Act that explicitly allows for re-scheduling by the executive branch? Does he also agree with Obama that Jake Tapper was just being a dick by pressing Obama on the issue?

    1. I don’t think this means that Bernie agrees with Obama. Bernie knows that Obama could take action, but is refusing to do so. Now Bernie is taking action from Congress, which is all he can really do.

      1. And ultimately the better route too.

        President “X” can very well have pot re-scheduled (via those he appoints) under the CSA.

        But President “Y” could simply see that’s it’s re-re-scheduled and criminalizes again.

        Congressional action would require congressional action to undue. It’s not perfect, but it’s a much higher bar to clear.

        1. Congressional action would not require Congressional action to undo if it’s the Congressional action in these bills. What would require Congressional action to undo would be an amendment not only to deschedule marihuana (& delete marihuana-specific prohibitions & penalties), but also to add marihuana to the short list of substances which are positively declared not to be controlled: tobacco, wine, malt beverages, & distilled spirits, so it too could not be rescheduled administratively.

  8. Liber. Tarian. MOMENT.

    We are WINNING! #BOOYAH!

  9. That’s like calling for an end to slavery for blacks but not for mexicans ! And everyone including Bernie Sanders should state what he really believes in backing partial legislation

    1. What if you could get enough votes for 1 but not the other?

    2. Actually that is how slavery was abolished in the USA. 1st it was restricted to non-whites, making it a racial issue. That paved the way for its total abolition later. Had it never been restricted to non-whites, I don’t think you’d’ve gotten to abolition that soon.

  10. This is obvious election year trolling, but I hope it gets some traction. If it weren’t election trolling he would have already proposed it. Or, maybe, he’s changing his mind after getting a larger view of public opinion from his current campaign travels than he had from his travels around the small great state of Vermont. Nonetheless, it bodes well for the future of drug decriminalization if he campaigns on this point. Distributing marijuana should not carry a sentence similar to first degree murder. It may, nonetheless, turn out to be rather vexing.

    Socialists are most concerned about the proper workings of society and seek to regulate it for that purpose. A free society is not at all welcome to them–too much anarchy. But maybe since a Democratic Socialist? is open to majority tyranny over society and, since the majority seems to be favoring marijuana liberation, Sanders is open to throwing a proverbial bone to the democratic masses. The result may be acceptable but the reason is not.

    Sanders is still a Socialist, and as such, has no place in charge of a free society. It would be like putting a missionary in charge of a vaudeville act.

    1. Maybe a Socialist would show some restraint on spending. It sure ain’t coming from the right.

      1. When have you ever seen spending restraint from a socialist?

        1. Once they abolish exchange, there’ll be no such thing as spending.

    2. One good thing about a Sanders presidency is that he would be gridlocked by a GOP Congress.

      …that’s all I got.

      1. That’s really the only up side I can think of too. But if the Rs lost control of congress it could be really bad.

        This really is the worst election ever.

        1. That doesn’t worry me too much. As Tuesday’s elections showed us the Democrats are in pretty bad shape at the state level and have a weak bench. At best I could see them winning back the Senate, but even that’s a stretch at this point. It becomes an even bigger stretch if the Democratic nominee for President is an old socialist from Vermont. He may have coattails in New England or on the West Coast, but every where else?

      2. Yeah, everyone said that about Obama, too, and despite all the bullshit Regressive histrionics about “obstructionism” and phantom racism, he’s still managed to get his way nearly 100% of the time, even when he had to completely subvert the law to do it. And nobody’s doing shit to stop him.

        All that abuse and expansion of power, and you think we should put in that seat a man who is outright CAMPAIGNING on his naked totalitarianism.

    3. Yeah, even in an election year candidate Rand Paul didn’t have guts to do it.

      1. Except that he already did. Idiot.

        1. “Yesterday Bernie Sanders, the first major-party presidential candidate to endorse marijuana legalization, became the first U.S. senator to propose a bill repealing the federal ban on marijuana.”

          Tell it to Jacob. He must be an idiot.

          1. Apparently.

          2. How quickly we forget Gary Johnson.

          3. Yes, Jacob IS an idiot. As are you, all of Dictator Bernie’s Useful Idiots and everyone else regurgitating the election season lie that Bernie gives a fuck about pot outside of grabbing votes from gullible single-issue idiots, let alone that he’s the first to ever openly consider legalization.

    4. What’s wrong w missionaries in charge of vaudeville acts? I bet some have been good at it.

  11. Poor Dana Rohrabacher. Doesn’t even get to be a part of a political party.

    You’d think they’d mention it since he was the first one to propose legalization (on the federal level) legislation.

    1. Yeah, he deserves a little more credit. Seems like you used to hear more about him.

  12. Bernie Sanders has the courage to do something libertarian golden boy Rand Paul will never have.

    1. Um ….
      http://www.washingtontimes.com…..-senators/

      Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, and likely 2016 presidential candidate, joined Democratic Sens. Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand to end the federal ban on medical marijuana, now legalized in 23 states

      1. Key word… Medical.

        I’ll let you figure out the difference between the two. I know sarcasmic isn’t smart enough, I have more faith in you.

        1. Move the goalposts much?

          1. That’s not moving the goalposts, there is a significant difference between medical and recreational decriminalization/legalization, though I’d prefer to note both Paul and Sanders did good work in both calls.

        2. And yet you don’t have the sense to notice that Bernie’s stance on pot always reverts after election season.

          To say nothing of the fact that he and you only want “legalization” insofar as making the government a singular cartel which still exorbitantly taxes (and subsequently punishes) people for using and growing a plant.

          Or do you think Big Brother Bernie wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to exercise some good ole fashioned Marxist totalitarianism on people who privately grow a plant without giving the Sheriff of Nottingham his cut?

    2. Seeing Hillary pulling away in the polls, and then doing something to get attention and to try to get the momentum back, isn’t my definition of courage.

      A political willing to decriminalize pot only after a clear majority of the people want it that way, isn’t what I’d call courage.

      But, then, I’m not insane.

      If he had courage, he would have taken the libertarian stance back when most libertarians did. Libertarians were ahead of the curve again.

      I’m pretty sure most people will catch up to the libertarians in other areas, as well. If only we give them more time. Not everyone is a quick thinker.

      1. Not a defense of Sanders, but he isn’t doing the getting-attention part very well if he doesn’t even mention it on his campaign website.

        1. Uh, are you kidding me?

          The senate floor can’t be all about theater because he doesn’t have a bullet on a website somewhere?

          Who cares? I haven’t visited any canditate’s website to find out more about them.

          Jeb has a website. How’s that working out for him?

          You get attention from the news, not silly websites.

    3. Except Rand Paul has been pushing this since back when your Socialist Messiah was still taking day trips to Soviet Candyland to suck Lenin’s mummified cock.

    4. How is this courageous? You can call this a “Hail Mary” considering that Hillary is pulling away from him. But courageous? Seriously? He’s a Socialist from a left-wing state, running for President in the proclaimed Socially liberal party. If anything we should be asking, “What the hell took him so long?”

    5. “Bernie Sanders has the courage to do something libertarian golden boy Rand Paul will never have.”
      Two points: First off, Rand Paul is not a libertarian, and never called himself one. Secondly, an honest commitment to freedom is about more then just not arresting people for smoking a plant.

  13. When did I call pot legalization in 10 years? Oh yeah, 2012. Things are proceeding apace. Full legalization in 7 years!

  14. So, Bernie jumps on Dana Rohrabacher’s(R-CA) bandwagon and now the crowd goes wild?

    Have I got that right?

    And Dana Rohrabacher(R-CA) has a bill that simply states that the CSA shall “not apply to any person acting in compliance with State laws relating to the production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, or delivery of marihuana.”

    And Bernie’s says the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) “shall not apply to marihuana,” except when people try to smuggle it into a state where it remains illegal. That offense would be punishable by a fine or up to a year in jail. The bill also removes “marihuana” and “tetrahydrocannabinols” from the CSA’s list of controlled substances.

    And Bernie’s is better because reasons, yes?

    1. When Rohrbacher’s thing was proposed, there were some states with medical and no outright legalization. And public opinion hadn’t shifted quite so far yet. IT did get a lot of attention among people specifically interested in drug policy. It also didn’t remove pot from the controlled substances list as far as I know. It also probably helps that Sanders is a senator and has recently become a household name for other reasons.

    2. Bernie’s currently a bit more high profile perhaps?

    3. There is probably some partisan spinnery as well, but I think it’s mostly down to timing and the fact that Sanders already has a high profile at the moment.

  15. Unfortunately neither Sanders’s nor Polis’s bill adds marihuana or tetrahydrocannabinols to the CSA listing of tobacco, wine, malt beverages & distilled spirits as not controlled substances. The effect of that listing is to revent the att’y gen’l from administratively adding any of those substances to the control schedules.

  16. I like Bernie more when he acts like a libertarian, and less like a communist twat.

  17. Sanders might possibly do somethings that are good in the Senate. As president he would be at best unable to do anything and at worst an utter disaster.

  18. Does Bernie realize that there are more than 23 different types of pot out there.

  19. Slate Star Codex points out = Bernie is the Candidate of the Whitest People

    Also = Trump has a surprisingly colorful following. He also pulls more Mexicans than Rubio.

  20. Jacob Sullum is a Useful Idiot who can’t be bothered to factcheck the simplest thing.

    Please don’t publish any more Big Brother-worshipping screeds from this lying, shameless hack.

  21. If you vote for Dictator Bernie just to annoy friends, you deserve all the totalitarianism and 90% tax hikes you get.

  22. Even a broken clock is right twice a day. Not that ‘ol Bern will ever deduce that the right to buy whatever drugs you want extends to deodorant as well.

  23. The Libertarian side of me says more freedom is always better than less.
    We are free to swing our arms right up until we hit the next person’s nose.
    The practical side of me say this is legalized pot is very unlikely to be handled well.
    If we use the argument alcohol is legal then so must pot be, then we must go into it with both feet and both eyes open.
    No open containers in public, no public intoxication, no intoxication while piloting automobiles, boats, ATVs, snowmobiles….. are you ready for that level of scrutiny?
    Do we have the concept of what level of intoxication is too intoxicated for the public?
    Do we have the means to reliably test for that level?
    We can’t have two standards for intoxication, neither will be upheld, it will devolve into a free-for-all.
    Most folks are responsible concerning their behavour, but it doesn’t take but a few knuckleheads for pandemonium to ensue.
    While everyone should have the freedom to get high, me and my family have the right not to get bowled over by stoned people in public. Only well-crafted and uniformly enforced laws accomplish that.

  24. It is not surprising that Bernie doesn’t understand that whether a State legalizes or prohibits pot is, per the 10 Amendment of that pesky ‘ole Constitution, a reserved power of the individual States. Thus, no federal legislation is needed to federally grant a power to the States which is already a constitutional power of the States. Typical leftist ignorance, pandering. (And probably many on the right are similarly unfamiliar with Constitution 101 precepts. No wonder our “republic” has become little more than a delusion.)

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