Nov 042015
 November 4, 2015

bernie sanders marijuanaAs expected, Bernie Sanders introduced a bill today into the United States Senate that would end federal marijuana prohibition. It wouldn’t legalize marijuana, as states would be able to decide the issue themselves, but it would remove marijuana prohibition at the federal level. Below is a reaction by Tom Angell from the Marijuana Majority:

“This is the first time a bill to end federal marijuana prohibition has been introduced in the U.S. Senate. 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.”

Also, below is a press release from the Marijuana Policy Project talking about the introduction of the bill:

Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) introduced a bill Wednesday that would repeal all federal penalties for possessing and growing marijuana, allowing states to establish their own marijuana laws. The bill is available online at http://www.mpp.org/sandersbill.

The “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2015” strikes all references to marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act, but retains penalties for transporting marijuana from states or jurisdictions where it is legal to those where it is not. It is the fourth marijuana policy reform bill to ever be introduced in the Senate, and it is the first that proposes ending marijuana prohibition at the federal level.

Earlier this year, Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kirstin Gillibrand (D-NY), and Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced medical marijuana legislation, known as the CARERS Act. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced a bill to address the tax status of marijuana businesses, and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced a measure that would allow marijuana businesses to access banking services.

Last month, Sanders became the first-ever major-party presidential candidate to express support for legalizing and regulating marijuana for adult use.

Statement from Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project:

“Sen. Sanders really grabbed the nation’s attention when he became the first major-party presidential candidate to speak out in support of ending marijuana prohibition. His actions today speak even louder than his words last month. Hopefully, this legislation will get his colleagues in Congress talking about the need for comprehensive marijuana policy reform.

“The science is clear that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol, and that should be reflected in our nation’s marijuana policy. Sen. Sanders is simply proposing that we treat marijuana similarly to how we treat alcohol at the federal level, leaving most of the details to the states. It is a commonsense proposal that is long overdue in the Senate.”

# # #

The Marijuana Policy Project is the nation’s largest marijuana policy organization. For more information, visit http://www.MarijuanaPolicy.org.

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  61 Responses to “Bernie Sanders Introduces Bill In Senate To End Federal Marijuana Prohibition”

  1.  

    Great but do you really think it will get a hearing let alone a floor vote? And Ron Paul was the first, not Sanders.

    •  

      Ron Paul served in the House of Representatives, not the Senate. That’s why they’re careful to point out that it’s the first descheduling bill in the Senate, but not in Congress in general.
      It definitely won’t make it out of committee, if it does manage even to get a hearing, what with the Republicans in control of the Senate. (I’m not saying that the Democrats being in charge would be a slam dunk or anything, but there’s at least a CHANCE it could get somewhere.) Senate Republicans are not going to want to give a lot of free press to a presidential candidate for the other party, so it’ll no doubt die a quiet death this session.
      HOWEVER, if Sanders can manage to win on a platform of federal legalization, that would represent a mandate and he could perhaps push it through in the so-called honeymoon period. The important thing is that he’s moving the national conversation (wiki “Overton window” if you’re not familiar with the term) towards pro-legalization. Now descheduling, rather than simply moving to Schedule 2, is becoming a reasonable policy alternative, rather than a far-out hypothetical. Exciting times!

      •  

        Sanders – if he wins – will have a Republican Congress. The most he could do would be –> deschedule. Which would be enough.

        •  

          Sanders won’t win. And a reschedule is probably going to happen before Obama leaves office, leaving Hillary with a brave new world she’s expressed some cautiously optimistic feelings about.

          But then, you don’t really care, because you’d prefer Chris Christie to Hillary. Huh?

    •  

      Do you have a link to Ron Paul expressing support for legalization of recreational use? I know he expressed support for state’s rights, but I don’t remember him coming right out and saying we should just legalize like Bernie has.

  2.  

    “Last month, Sanders became the first-ever major-party presidential
    candidate to express support for legalizing and regulating marijuana for
    adult use.”

    Not true. Ron Paul and Barney Frank introduced legislation in 2011 in the US House that also removed cannabis from the CSA schedules entirely. In fact, their legislation had the same title as the legislation Bernie introduced. Ron Paul was a major-party presidential candidate twice.

    And technically, Bernie Sanders won’t even be a major-party presidential candidate until he appears on the primary ballot in New Hampshire. He’s still an independent in Congress and this legislation was introduced acknowledging him as an independent, not a Democrat.

    •  

      Thanks! It’s somewhat hilarious that Ron Paul and Barney Frank co-sponsored anything, but good for both of them! I suppose Bernie has about as much chance of becoming President as Mr. Paul, but they are certainly contributing to the discussion.

      •  

        Acording to Predict It, Bernie has a 13% chance and Rand Paul has a 5% chance of becoming President.

        I think they’re both closer to 0, frankly.

        The good news is that Hillary Clinton has been pushed to the left and is saying cautiously good things about, at the very least, continuing with the current path of leaving the legalization states alone.

        I have some bets with some folks from the Weed Blog that Obama will reschedule marijuana before he leaves office.

        Weed is the new gay marriage. Should be legal everywhere in 10 years.

        •  

          I have this sneaking suspicion that Obama will reschedule too, but I don’t understand why he hasn’t rescheduled already, it would have overwhelming public support and would show proper respect for science.
          I guess this comment shows my naivete about how American politics works.

          •  

            Because Obama is a very moderate Democrat who thinks big changes should come from congress and happen slowly. Or, he was. Now I think he has a “F*c*it List.” That’s why he was the first president to actually visit a prison.

          •  

            I appreciated that visit to a prison, but that bold move only makes his intransigence on medicinal marijuana all the more frustrating. He’s done more for recreational weed than for MMJ.

            I see only 1 plausible conclusion from the JAMA (AMA’s journal) study that states with MMJ have significantly reduced prescription opiate overdose death rates. The obvious conclusion is that people are using MMJ to reduce or eliminate their need for prescription opiates. If there is another plausible explanation, it’s up to enemies of MMJ, like the doofus head of the DEA, and Dracula, excuse me I meant Guvnor Cuomo, to provide one. Since they haven’t been able to provide another plausible explanation, that study alone is hands down sufficient and urgent justification for rescheduling cannabis. And of course we’ve known for decades that cannabis is effective in countering the nausea and lack of appetite caused by chemotherapy. Etc, etc.

            And politically speaking, let the Republicans and creeps like Wasserman Schultz try to block him from rescheduling.

          •  

            Of course, an executive action by Obama to reschedule or de-schedule marijuana could by undone by a future President. If it happens, it would certainly be a step in the right direction, but only Congress can make it permanent.

        •  

          you are actually stupid enough to vote for a president because he smokes pot and likes to take money from homos? Please leave this country immediately.

    •  

      Removing from the CSA schedules and expressing support for recreational use are two different things. And if Rand Paul has expressed support for legal recreational use, please show me where.

  3.  

    whats the bill number so I can contact my senator

    •  

      Looks like it hasn’t been assigned a bill number yet (or maybe it was today, but the day’s business hasn’t been posted to the Senate’s website yet), but if you use the full bill title – the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act – they’ll know what you mean. Hopefully you live in Kentucky so you can tell Mitch McConnell to actually assign it to a committee instead of letting it languish.

  4.  

    George Washington was the first to support legalized cannabis. :)

  5.  

    Go Bernie Sanders!

  6.  

    This is exactly the kind of thing that would cause a Republican to vote for a Socialist. Republican Presidential Candidates take heed… Your position on this item can make or break your campaign. We’re tired of waiting.

    •  

      Well Bernie is moving the ball towards the goal. Good.

      ==============

      I hang in Republican circles. I don’t think you get the antipathy in those circles towards socialism.

      On the Presidential level there is an old “rule”. –> “Only Nixon can go to China.” Which is to say you will not get the support you need until a Republican champions it.

      And Democrats have to let go of “Tax and Regulate”. The DEA will be enforcing the taxes and regulations.

      •  

        “I hang in Republican circles.”

        You mean you ARE a Republican.

        ” I don’t think you get the antipathy in those circles towards socialism.”

        You’re kidding, right? Republicans hate socialism. That’s why they want to get rid of anything that even remotely smells of socialism, like Medicare and Social Security.

        “”Only Nixon can go to China.” Which is to say you will not get the support you need until a Republican champions it.”

        Yeah, that’s how we got Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and now millions more people getting health insurance who didn’t get it.

        Do you even think about these things before you post them?

        “And Democrats have to let go of “Tax and Regulate”. The DEA will be enforcing the taxes and regulations.”

        Why should anyone listen to you? If this bill passes, then the DEA won’t be enforcing diddly. The states will.

        Now go cry about Rand Paul in someone else’s soup.

      •  

        Most cannabis users are willing to pay a reasonable tax. There’s a reasonable tax on alcohol, and I just can’t see cannabis leapfrogging past alcohol like that and getting treated better than alcohol. And that willingness to be taxed is a valuable campaign asset.
        As far as regulation, when you say treat like tomatoes, do you mean that 100%? What about children? As with the tax, I can’t see cannabis suddenly become less regulated than alcohol. It should be, and probably will be eventually, but that’s gonna take a while.

  7.  

    it is my personal opinion but if you want full global legalization then we need to stop focusing on consumption and start focusing on industrialization because it is also my opinion and marijuana is the answer to global warming based on the fuel crisis… think about it marijuana can be grown any where and it absorbs more co2 than any plant I can think of and if it absorbs more co2 then the fuel made by marijuana can amit itself then you are fixing two problems, because any fuel emitted co2 has already been taken care of plus it’s taking away co2 previously emitted not to mention co2 being taken away by marijuana and hemp being produced for other purposes just think about it it doesn’t take a genius to figure this one out and since it can grow anywhere at a very low cost profit can be made easily. so if you really want to make it legal then convince the rich people who are funding the politicians that they can make a profit pure and simple and not only can they make a profit but that profit will help everyone and take away global warming who the hell would not want that… Plus everyone knows that the oil will not last forever and they are creating huge caverns underneath the ground and you never know when an earthquake might make them cave in marijuana literally is the answer to everything.

    •  

      Manufacturing, Medicine, Nutrition and Recreation–cannabis fibers, pulp, seeds, leaves and pollinating male/seed-bearing (or seedless) female flowers supply ALL FOUR of those broad economic sectors. They always have and always will. The Anti Marihuana Tyranny was foisted upon America and the world precisely because large corporations (chemical, synthetic pharmaceutical, paper companies, etc.) demanded it in private, corrupting “officials” at federal, state and local levels with money. Big corporations still perceive the raw materials of cannabis as the major competitors for profits that they truly are.

      •  

        it’s the art of war make the corporations think the ball is in their court make them want profit off of marijuana through misdirection then they will be the ones legalizing it for us and then once its legalized simply cut them out by only buying from local businesses and real local business not the big corporation who buy small businesses that are selling out or going broke and keep their name

    •  

      If you believe the polls Americans don’t care about global warming. It is a weak issue to base a campaign on. If you are going to need Republican votes to win it is counter productive.

      On top of that regulation will kill hemp. The DEA will be raiding hemp fields as non-compliant with cannabis regulations. Compliance will price your fuel out of the market.

  8.  

    Bernie Sanders you get my vote

  9.  

    You got my vote Bernie!

  10.  

    The DEA will be enforcing any regulations enacted.

    No more taxed or regulated than tomatoes.

  11.  

    This guy has had my vote all along! He’s a genius! Anti-war, anti-1%ers, pro-free college to be paid for via a “Robinhood Tax” that would charge like fifty-cents per transaction on Wall St! That’s right. Wall Street paying for college! Not to mention there’s no Super Pac here! Corporations don’t own this guy! This alone makes him the best man for job. Check out my T-shirt designs for the Bern man. More to come. Get ’em at Redbubble/people/drenco

    Have you seen anyone ask Bernie about weed? He rolls his eyes! And he’s right …it is the least of our problems!

  12.  

    While the potential harms of using cannabis are widely publicized (and often exaggerated), little is mentioned of the harms of its prohibition. When making cannabis policy decisions, it would be irresponsible to ignore these harms…and costs.

    For this prohibition to be justified it needs to be established that:

    1) Cannabis is particularly harmful (at least more than alcohol)
    2) The prohibition will significantly reduce problematic usage

    And:

    3) The direct and indirect costs of prohibition to an American society need to be less than any gains from 1 and 2 (don’t underestimate the value we place on freedom and liberty)

    None of these 3 requirements have ever been established. After decades of research, the relative safety and medical efficacy of cannabis have been established well enough to conclude that it is significantly less harmful and more useful than alcohol. The vast majority of preventable harms related to cannabis are caused by the very laws that are supposed to “protect us” from it. Some of these harms are:

    •Increased deaths of countless people involved on all sides of the “war”, including those of law enforcement and bystanders
    •The spending of 100’s of billions of our dollars seeking out, arresting, prosecuting, and incarcerating otherwise law-abiding citizens
    •The loss of billions in tax revenue from cultivation, distribution, and sales, which can be used for all substance abuse treatment
    •The redirection of valuable police time and resources from solving and preventing true crime
    •The filling of our jails with non-violent offenders, exposing them to true criminals and forcing the early release of dangerous criminals
    •All sales, over 10 million pounds per year, are unregulated and placed in the hands of criminals who never check ID
    •The empowerment and expansion of underground markets as a very popular substance is placed within them
    •Increased violent crime as dealers and buyers have no legal recourse to resolve disputes
    •Increased exposure to hard drugs as many cannabis consumers buy from suppliers who have access to them, even push them
    •Increased likelihood of contamination with anything from harmful pesticides and molds to other drugs
    •The prevention of some adults from choosing a recreational substance less harmful than alcohol
    •The notion that all illegal drugs are particularly dangerous is weakened
    •Increased corruption within the legal system
    •The invasion of our civil liberties, which in America we hold in especially high regard
    •The prevention of people from receiving effective medicine
    •The prevention of people from receiving decent employment, scholarship money, and student aid due to their “criminal” record, which affects not just them but their family as well
    •Families are torn apart as members are imprisoned or children taken away in the name of “protecting them”
    •Increased support of tremendous multinational criminal networks
    •Increased public mistrust, disrespect, and disdain for our legal system, police, and government, which is devastating to our country

    Considering these great costs, it is unreasonable to continue this policy against a substance objectively less harmful than alcohol. Why are we forcing police to deal with something that is, if anything, a minor public health issue? Why are we criminalizing people for something that has been safely enjoyed by millions of Americans for decades, something that a majority of Americans believe should be legalized recreationally?

    Cannabis prohibition is a travesty of justice based on irrational fears and paranoia from an archaic era that needs to end now. Cannabis must be legalized and regulated similar to alcohol. Prohibition policies do not work for popular things that are safely enjoyed by many…especially not in a country that values liberty, justice, and freedom.

    A vote to end cannabis prohibition is a vote to condemn a costly prohibition that causes more harm than it prevents.

    Please urge your legislators to implement a cannabis policy similar to that of alcohol. Consider what the following cannabis legalization organizations have to say. Help end this harmful, unjust, unfounded, unpopular, un-American prohibition by joining their mailing lists, signing their petitions and writing your legislators when they call for it.

    MPP – The Marijuana Policy Projecthttp://www.mpp.org/
    DPA – Drug Policy Alliancehttp://www.drugpolicy.org/
    NORML – National Organization to Reform Marijuana Lawshttp://norml.org/
    LEAP – Law Enforcement Against Prohibitionhttp://www.leap.cc/
    .

  13.  

    Wondering if the bill is destined to die in committee because most politicians fear having to publicly vote for something that might alienate a large percentage of their constituents?

    •  

      That is not going to be the case for long…

      National polls put legalization @ 58% and medical legalization 80% +

      at some point…unless these politicians just don’t read polls..the politicians are going to have to fear alienating a large portion of their constituents for NOT voting on something

    •  

      I think he is sincere in his push for legalization. Bernie is for the people, truly, and he sees the harm the War on Drugs has had on millionsome of Americans.

  14.  

    im not impressed. In fact, I’m angry as a US citizen.
    Why does Mexico get freedom and the US gets a bureaucracy of corrupt state run regulatory cancers? WE ARE BECOMING THE MEXICO of cannabis policy!
    Around and prior to 1937, when people were burning ‘muggles’ we never heard of hysteria about children, we never heard of people being subjectively offended by cannabis smoke. We saw hasheesh candy sold openly by businesses, without requirements for license, import, or export other than those required by open government. How have we since evolved to ending an entire business industry for no good reason? What is the valid fundamental basis to continue having a broken system?

  15.  

    “The science is clear that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol, and that should be reflected in our nation’s marijuana policy.”

    And if we have to say it a zillion times, and have 80% of the country agree with us, instead of just 58%, to make it happen, then that’s what we’ll do.
    The Emperor Has No Clothes, most people know it by now, but he’s still in power.

  16.  

    Please send some money, any amount, to Sanders’s campaign today (and let them know why you sent it!) — even if you despise everything else about him. Realistically, he’s got no chance of getting the nomination but if we can help keep his campaign alive for while longer it puts Hilary under pressure to move in our direction on cannabis reform.

    Below is the text of message I sent to his office this morning:

    Thank you, Senator, for filing a bill to de-schedule cannabis. Nixon’s Drug War has inflicted grievous harm on this nation and the world for far too many decades. Though I have little hope your bill will ever make it out of committee I applaud your sense of honor and fairness and have just made a contribution to your presidential campaign.

    For the record, I’m a 64 year old white male retired from a successful career that has included founding and running an engineering consulting business. I do not currently use cannabis or any other illegal substance and have not done so since the early 1970’s. I don’t have any financial interests in cannabis related businesses and no family members with drug arrests or convictions. I’m an activist for drug law reform because, having done my homework, I’m convinced there are no factually supported arguments for legal sanctions against any adult for simple possession or use of any drug, let alone one that is demonstrably less harmful than alcohol and tobacco. Therefore I must stand as an American, and as a human, for ending our current prohibitions.

    Thank you for your efforts to reform our misguided policies. Please let me know how I may most effectively communicate my concerns to my own senators, Tillis and Burr. Feel free to forward this message to their offices if that will be useful.

    Sincerely,
    Michael Ellis,
    Weaverville NC

  17.  

    The more i hear the better it sounds. I eill be donating to mr sanders campaign. Ms clinton policies of resecheduling to 2 same aa oxy, cocaine and other dangerous drugs is just plain stupid.

  18.  

    And while we are at it …let us pray that the Mansantos of the world stay away from it. So easy to crush such a beautiful thing. I don’t think it’s impossible for Bernie to get the nom. He speaks the truth and his record says it all. I made my living being able to read people in an instant. Believe me when I say Clinton is a liar. She’s hiding things. Bernie speaks the truth. Anyone with a half a mile of street smarts could tell you that.

  19.  

    A neighbor was talking about Sanders the other day so I came looking for facts about him because I’m of the “anyone but Hilary” group. But I will look no further than this article and in fact now I’ll add anyone but Hilary or Bernie. We’ve got too many drug users in the States already. Just say NO to all drugs.

  20.  

    Will this bill go through. I hope it does.

  21.  

    I like the way the Mexican government has acknowledged the unconstitutional nature of cannabis prohibition – hopefully the folks in Washington D.C. will do the same. Ideally it would be acknowledged that every single act of enforcement of the unconstitutional prohibition of cannabis was unlawful and those who have been involved in enforcement of cannabis prohibition would be subject to fines, criminal records and jail time themselves. We really do need to respect the constitution. Throw prohibition down the well!!!

  22.  

    Vote for Bernie

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