Wooks might have more in common with Bernie Sanders than neither wanting to brush their hair. The U.S. Senator and democratic presidential hopeful has made overtures to his support of decriminalizing marijuana in the past, but Wednesday he came out in full force to support the de-scheduling of marijuana from the nation’s list of controlled substances.
His proclamation came out at a simulcast town hall meeting with college students. “Too many Americans have seen their lives destroyed because they have criminal records as a result of marijuana use,” he said. “That’s wrong. That has got to change.”
Sanders’ decisive platform to decriminalize marijuana puts him well ahead of the other contenders for the throne on both sides of the aisle. Hillary Clinton, the candidate’s rival for the democratic nomination has given her support to medical marijuana but not to legalizing it recreationally, saying “to find out a lot more than we know today” about how recreational cannabis has worked thus far in trial states like Colorado and Oregon.
Changing the controlled substance status of cannabis would not legalize the plant per se, but it would take federal agencies like the DEA out of the equation and let states do what they want with the plant. As Christopher Ingraham at the Washington Post pointed out, the benefits of implementing Sanders’ proposals would be as follows:
- The DEA would no longer be able to raid dispensaries and pot shops
- Cannabis businesses could now use banks and get tax breaks like any other business
- Medical marijuana research would take big leaps forward without the crippling restrictions that come with studying a controlled substance
- As states and municipalities would be able to govern their own weed laws, voters would have a much greater say in their local regulations
Sanders indicted what he called a “broken” justice system that targets minorities on Wednesday, saying, “I will not be a president of a country that has more people in jail than any other country… In the year 2015, it is time for the federal government to allow states to go forward as they best choose.”