Vermont Senator and Democratic Presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders has introduced legislation to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act. The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2015 would remove all federal criminal penalties for possessing and growing the plant. This legislation gives states the power to establish their own marijuana policies while ensuring federal law does not conflict with such.
The act does keep in place penalties for transporting marijuana from states or jurisdictions where it is legal to those where it is not.
Senator Sanders called cannabis’ present schedule I state under federal law “absurd.” He added: “In my view, the time is long overdue for us to remove the federal prohibition on marijuana… States should have the right to regulate marijuana the same way that state and local laws now govern the sale of alcohol and tobacco.” He also said that state-compliant marijuana operations “should be fully able to use the banking system without fear of federal prosecution.”
The Senator’s latest position is consistent with the view of most voters. According to a 2015 Pew poll, 60 percent of Americans agree that the government “should not enforce federal marijuana laws in states that allow use,” while recent Gallup survey data finds that 58 percent of US citizens over the age of 18 believe cannabis should be legal for adults.
Advocates of Sanders bill can go to NORML, enter their zip code to contact their Senators and urge them to join in supporting this pending legislation.