Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has made good on his word to take immediate action against the prohibition of marijuana in the United States by submitting a piece of legislation to the U.S. Senate on Wednesday aimed at bringing down the whole rotten foundation.
It is called the “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act,” a subtle measure designed to remove cannabis from the confines of the Controlled Substances Act, so that states are finally able to establish their own rules for legalizing pot without intrusion from the federal government.
Written slightly different from a similar dust-collecting proposal introduced in the House earlier this year by Representative Jared Polis of Colorado, Sanders’ bill would force the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to bid farewell to the four-decade-long wrath against the cannabis plant rather than simply transferring the agency’s authority to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
“It’s a state and a federal issue,” Sanders said in a recent interview with CNN. “The federal issue is that we should remove marijuana from the Controlled Substance Act. That’s a federal decision. The state decision is that we live in a federal system of government where issues like tobacco and alcohol are significantly regulated by the states. And I think that is a province of the states.”
The introduction of this bill comes just a week after Sanders announced plans before a group of college students in Virginia to end prohibition in America.
“Too many Americans have seen their lives destroyed because they have criminal records as a result of marijuana use,” Sanders said. “That’s wrong. That has got to change.”
Unfortunately, Sander’s bill can expect a fight to the death if any level of progress is expected to be made.
It is conceivable that Sanders will attract somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 co-sponsors for his measure, but will fail miserably at generating enough Republican interest to foster any level of real momentum. So far, Sanders has refused to say whether his proposal to drag America out of the stench of prohibitionary times has any support at all, but considering his well-respected campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, there will undoubtedly be some considerable backing by his fellow party members.
However, the Republican roadblock in the Senate will inevitably keep this bill buried in “referred to subcommittee” status for a while.
Nevertheless, marijuana advocates across the nation have applauded Sanders for his dedication to ending the war on weed.
“This is the first time a bill to end federal marijuana prohibition has been introduced in the U.S. Senate,” Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority, said in a statement. “A growing majority of Americans want states to be able to enact their own marijuana laws without harassment from the DEA, and lawmakers should listen. The introduction of this bill proves that the defeat of the Ohio marijuana monopoly measure that wasn’t widely supported in our movement isn’t doing anything to slow down our national momentum.”
Let’s hope that Sanders has a few sleazy tricks up his sleeve to bullhorn his latest proposal through Congress in the next few months. While marijuana can be eliminated from the Controlled Substances Act through Congress, if Sanders becomes president, he would only be able to use his executive powers to get the substance rescheduled.
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