Cannabis legalization is a hot topic in the world of politics in America these days. While many presidential hopefuls have vowed to legalize, one man in particular wants to go a step further.
While President Trump can be given credit for passing the 2018 Farm Bill, allowing for the industrial cultivation of hemp, many critics feel his administration is yet to fulfill the will of the people when it comes to legalizing the plant federally. Cannabis is far more relevant to politicians these days than it was previously. With that said, many politicians on the left in the US say they would legalize cannabis fully if elected. Luckily, the public usually knows what “smoke and mirrors” looks like.
One politician on the roster for the 2020 elections is Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand. As a presidential hopeful, Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) announced her plan for the future of cannabis back in May of this year. “Fundamentally, whether adults use marijuana is a matter of privacy, and we should treat marijuana as a major economic opportunity and revenue source,” wrote Gillibrand at the time. She also announced back in February 2018 that she would sponsor a bill to fully legalize cannabis nationwide, primarily to assist “communities of color,” according to a High Times report.
However, the man of the moment, at least as far as cannabis legalization talk is concerned is none other than Senator Bernie Sanders. Sanders spoke with Joe Rogan on a podcast last week and announced his intentions on air. Sanders told Rogan that he wouldn’t just support legalizing cannabis, instead that he would do it through a specially written “executive order.” In Sanders own words on that podcast, “What I call for now is the legalization of marijuana in America,” he said. “I believe we can do that through executive order, and I will do that,” he claimed.
There’s no question that if Sanders is telling the truth about his intentions, it will represent a new approach to cannabis legalization in America. If elected president, Sanders could bypass the slow-moving corridors of Congress and legalize cannabis as president. Sanders also told his host during the interview that he was the first senator to sponsor a bill to end the federal prohibition of cannabis.
During the informal chat, Bernie Sanders spoke about how the landscape in the US has changed in a short period. “What seemed kind of radical, the need to legalize and decriminalize marijuana… is spreading all over the country,” he said. “It blows my mind… Here in California, you see signs from corporations: ‘Buy our marijuana.’ Four years ago, people were getting arrested for doing that, right? Their lives being destroyed.”
The senator also took issue with cannabis being scheduled as a dangerous drug alongside things like heroin and cocaine. “[The Controlled Substances Act] is insane,” Sanders told Rogan. “Heroin is a killer drug. You can argue the pluses and minuses of marijuana, but marijuana ain’t heroin. So we have to end that, and that’s what I will do,” he said.
It’s often hard to read politicians and their true intentions, especially when they appear on popular podcasts to sell themselves. However, as some commentators have pointed out, if anyone could legalize cannabis federally it’s Bernie Sanders as his track record on the subject speaks for itself. Then again, every other Democratic candidate running against Donald Trump (apart from Joe Biden) are also pro-cannabis legalization and have that as part of their platform. We’ll have to wait until 2020 at least to see which candidate will come true on their promise and which will not.