Following in the footsteps of US Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore), today Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) signed on as a co-sponsor of the Marijuana Justice Act. That measure, originally introduced last year by New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, incentivize states to mitigate existing and ongoing racial disparities in state-level cannabis arrests, and expunge federal convictions specific to cannabis possession.
“The bottom line is we need to rethink fundamentally our attitude toward marijuana.”Sen. Bernie Sanders
“Prohibition didn’t work in the 1920s. It’s not going to work now,” said Sanders, announcing his co-sponsorship in a Facebook Live chat with Cory Booker. “The bottom line is we need to rethink fundamentally our attitude toward marijuana.”
Sanders’ support of the legislation drew praise from cannabis activists. “Leaders in the Democratic Party are increasingly recognizing that leading the charge on legalization is not only good policy, but good politics,” said NORML’s Justin Strekal in a statement. “The constituencies which the party claims to stand for are the ones who have most felt the weight and lifelong consequences of marijuana criminalization.”
Sanders’ co-sponsorship of the MJA is but one of today’s big federal actions on cannabis. While Bernie was chatting on Facebook Live, Sen. Chuck Schumer was prepping his legislation to decriminalize cannabis at the federal level. Stay tuned for everything.