Bernie Sanders Calls for an End To Cannabis Prohibition
When it comes to the issue of cannabis, the current US presidential election race has been quite tepid. Sure, many candidates say it is something that needs to be looked at, or support the current trend of allowing states to deal with it themselves, but few have come out in full support of legalisation – probably a political move to hedge their bets. That is until now. Bernie Sanders, one of the Democratic presidential candidates, wants to see cannabis prohibition come to an end.
Sanders outlined his opinions in a recent speech at George Mason University, North Virginia:
"In my view, the time is long overdue for us to remove the federal prohibition on marijuana," Sanders said to an applauding crowd. "In my view, 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 went on to say that cannabis should be de-scheduled. It’s pretty damned significant, and if that is a federal stance for national cannabis policy, it will have to be their stance on international policy – supporting the idea that each country should decide for themselves. What this means for all of us, is that the US will no longer stand in the way of ending prohibition at the UN, which they have staunchly done for decades – being one of the main pressure groups in the fight to maintain prohibition. Without them in the way, all of our fights become a lot easier.
When explaining the reasoning behind his desire to see cannabis de-scheduled (cannabis currently being in the worst schedule of drugs in the US), he stated the issue was one of racial and civil rights.
"Too many Americans have seen their lives destroyed because they have criminal records as a result of marijuana use. That's wrong. That has got to change," he said. "We are spending about $80 billion a year in federal state and local taxpayer dollars to lock people up. $80 billion a year."
Between 2001 and 2010, 8 million people were arrested for marijuana-related offences in the US. 9 out of 10 of them for small possession charges. It shows how the anti-drug stance of the law that is meant to hunt down dealers and protect people is, in fact, focusing on users, ruining the lives of everyday people.
It is a sentiment felt by much of the US public, and the world as a whole. Support for ending cannabis prohibition is continuing to grow, and as we can see from this, politicians are at least beginning to pay attention.