Bernie Sanders Pushes Major Shift in Pot Law
He'll take it off the feds' list of banned substances
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 29, 2015 2:02 AM CDT
Bernie Sanders listens to a student's question at a town hall meeting at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., on Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)
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(Newser) – If Bernie Sanders becomes president, the federal government will stop trying to get between people and the marijuana that their state says is legal. At a town hall event in Virginia on Wednesday, Sanders told an approving audience of college students that he would remove marijuana from a list of drugs outlawed by the federal government, allowing states to treat it exactly like alcohol or tobacco if they choose to, the Hill reports. "The time is long overdue for us to remove the federal prohibition on marijuana," said Sanders. He has previously expressed support for decriminalization of pot, which the federal government still lists alongside the likes of heroin and meth as a Schedule 1 banned drug with "no currently accepted medical use."

"Too many Americans have seen their lives destroyed because they have criminal records as a result of marijuana use," Sanders said, describing pot arrests as part of a "broken" criminal justice system. "That's wrong. That has got to change." Removing pot from the DEA's list of outlawed substances wouldn't make it legal nationwide, but it would allow states to choose their own policies, as well as allow marijuana businesses to use banks freely and make it a lot easier for researchers to explore the benefits of medicinal marijuana, the Washington Post reports. (Canada's new prime minister has promised to legalize pot.)