Bernie Sanders Introduces Bill to End Federal Cannabis ProhibitionLisa RoughNovember 5, 2015
Just in case you’re not feeling the Bern yet, Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders is putting his money where his mouth is by making his latest comments official and proposing a serious policy change that would end the federal prohibition of cannabis once and for all. This is a significant political move that could also help Bernie Sanders pull into the lead from where he’s trailing behind in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Known as the “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2015,” the bill would amend the Controlled Substances Act by adding a subsection to allow for the shipping and transportation of cannabis across state lines without breaking federal laws, removing all penalties for the use, possession, distribution, and sales of cannabis, and even goes so far as to completely remove any mention of “cannabis” or “marijuana” from the Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.
This bill would make the transition for legal cannabis easy and unrestricted. It doesn’t force any states to legalize that aren’t ready to, but rather opens the doors for any states that do want to legalize. That way, there is no legal ground to stand on for federal prosecution.
If passed, the bill could change the entire political landscape for the legal cannabis industry – it would open up interstate commerce, allow marijuana businesses to utilize federal banking institutions, and possibly open the floodgates for states that are looking to legalize. There are already at least 10 states seeking to put recreational marijuana on the 2016 ballot, and if this proposed bill becomes law, there would be few detractors to deter voters from saying “yes” to legal cannabis in 2016.
This act is different from the CARERS Act that was introduced earlier this year — the CARERS Act would have re-classified cannabis as a Schedule II drug, meaning that it would allow for some intended medical use but there would still be major restrictions on cannabis, as it would be in the same class as methamphetamine and cocaine. The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2015, conversely, removes any mention of cannabis, essentially erasing all traces of prohibition from federal law.
Mr. Sanders has certainly been busy trying to effect change in our country's cannabis policy. What else does the Vermont senator have up his sleeve?