No presidential candidate has ever called for marijuana to be completely removed from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s list of most dangerous drugs other than Vermont senator Bernie Sanders. He announced his support for marijuana in a town hall meeting at Virginia’s George Mason University late last month, earning the applause of more than 1,700 college students.
“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.”
Marijuana is currently classified as a Schedule 1 drug under DEA’s schedule of controlled substances, which means it has no medically accepted use and has a high potential for abuse.
Needless to say, many researchers are not happy with this classification. The Brookings Institution has previously said that this status is “stifling medical research.” Similarly, the American Medical Association called for a review of the status, “with the goal of facilitating the conduct of clinical research.”
Although Sanders’ proposal would not automatically make marijuana legal on the federal level, it will nonetheless allow individual states to regulate the drug just like how they govern tobacco and alcohol sales. Those who use cannabis in these states will no longer be at risk for federal prosecution. Marijuana-related businesses will also be able to avail of banking services and tax deductions.
Sanders described the current classification of cannabis is “absurd,” as it suggests it is as dangerous as heroin. “In the year 2015, it is time for the federal government to allow states to go forward as they best choose,” he said.
His line of thinking is pretty much the same as many Americans, as a recent Gallup survey showed that support for legal marijuana is at an all-time high at 58 percent.
Voice your opinions in the comments section below – your opinion matters to the nation.