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Bernie Sanders: “Pot Should Not Be a Federal Crime”

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At a rally on Sunday in Madison, WI, Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders reiterated his support for marijuana decriminalization at the federal level.

"We can argue about the science and the pluses and minuses about marijuana, but everybody knows marijuana is not a killer drug like heroin," Sanders said,  “And that is why I have introduced legislation to take marijuana out of the federal Controlled Substances Act. It should not be a federal crime."

Intervention from the federal government poses the biggest threat to state-level legalization for which momentum is building this election. Sanders has positioned himself as a non-interventionist presidential candidate who instead supports federal policies that would allow state experiments to take move forward without being bogged down by federal prohibition. Last year, Sanders introduced the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2015 to strike marijuana from the Schedule I category of controlled substances.

"It is time to tax and regulate marijuana," Sanders said in Colorado in October. "It is time to end the arrest of so many people and the destruction of so many lives for the possession marijuana."

Sanders’ pot-friendly persona has not gone unnoticed to the legal marijuana market. In March, Portland pot shops launched a “Burnie One for Bernie” promotion donating ten percent of proceeds from the sales of special one-gram joints to Bernie’s campaign.

Wisconsin, where Sanders gave the speech, is one of a many states that have passed restrictive CBD-only medical marijuana policies that do little for patient access. 

Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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