Don’t Get Too Excited about Bernie Sanders’ Marijuana Legalization Proposal

by | Oct 29, 2015


Many marijuana legalization proponents are excited by the Wednesday announcement that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will introduce legislation in the United States Senate that would remove marijuana from the list of banned drugs under the Controlled Substances Act. Many people are jumping to the obvious conclusion that the legislation would thus remove the US government from the marijuana prohibition business altogether, leaving each state to do as it pleases regarding the plant. The press release of Sanders’ presidential campaign announcing Sanders’ marijuana law reform proposal, however, suggests that that conclusion is wrong.

The press release begins with the grand statement that Sanders “favors removing marijuana from the list of controlled substances regulated by federal law.” But, then, a few sentences later, the press release backtracks on the suggested radical legalization promise by noting that Sanders “would continue to allow federal law enforcement officials to arrest and prosecute drug dealers for trafficking in marijuana sales.” That certainly suggests Sanders wants the US government’s war on marijuana to continue in some form.

It seems wise for opponents of the US government’s war on marijuana to wait and see what the bill Sanders introduces actually says before praising it.


  • Adam Dick

    Adam worked from 2003 through 2013 as a legislative aide for Rep. Ron Paul. Previously, he was a member of the Wisconsin State Board of Elections, a co-manager of Ed Thompson's 2002 Wisconsin governor campaign, and a lawyer in New York and Connecticut.

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