Presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has lengthy been ahead of the curve when it comes to cannabis reform, but this week he took his help for legalization a big step additional.
Through an look on the Joe Rogan Expertise podcast on Tuesday, Sanders announced that, if elected, he wouldn’t merely help congressional legislation to legalize cannabis—he’d do it via an executive order.
“What I contact for now is the legalization of marijuana in America,” Sanders told Rogan. “I think we can do that via executive order, and I will do that,” he mentioned.
A sort of legislative silver bullet, an executive order would allow Sanders as president to bypass what’s at present a Congress paralyzed by partisan gridlock. His comment represents one particular of the boldest methods for cannabis reform by any presidential hopeful.
A Longtime Cannabis Champion
In his interview with Rogan, Sanders echoed the legalization and descheduling arguments he has been producing for years—arguments that have earned him an A+ rating from advocacy group NORML. In 2015, Sanders sponsored the initial Senate bill to finish federal cannabis prohibition.
A lot’s changed in a single election cycle. When Sanders advocated for federal legalization in the course of his 2016 presidential bid, his tips had been noticed by several as intense. Now, each and every big 2020 presidential challenger except Joe Biden supports legalization.
“What seemed type of radical, the require to legalize and decriminalize marijuana… is spreading all more than the nation,” Sanders told Rogan. “And by the way, it blows my mind… Right here in California, you see indicators from corporations: ‘Buy our marijuana.’ 4 years ago, persons had been acquiring arrested for performing that, appropriate? Their lives getting destroyed.”
He acknowledged the developing quantity of states, such as Illinois and New York that are expunging criminal records of low-level cannabis crimes, policing of which was disproportionately enforced against minority and marginalized communities. “[The] superior news is some communities, some cities, are expunging the records, so if you had been arrested, have a criminal record for promoting marijuana, that is getting expunged. And that is the appropriate issue to do.”
Sanders identified the Controlled Substances Act, which categorizes cannabis as a Schedule I drug alongside heroin, ecstasy, and LSD, as a big element contributing to the United States’ “broken criminal justice program.”
“[The Controlled Substances Act] is insane,” Sanders mentioned. “Heroin is a killer drug. You can argue the pluses and minuses of marijuana, but marijuana ain’t heroin. So we have to finish that, and that is what I will do.”
The Overdose Epidemic and ‘Diseases of Despair’
Asked about drug policy far more commonly, Sanders mentioned he wasn’t interested in legalizing other drugs, at least “not at this point.” Rather, he noted that for the initial time in history, Americans’ typical lifespans have been acquiring shorter rather than longer. In addition, a developing quantity of deaths outcome from drug overdoses and suicide.
“Why is it that so several of our persons are turning to drugs, to alcohol … and tragically, to suicide?” he asked. “What the physicians are saying is that these are ‘diseases of disappear’”—signs an individual is attempting to escape from a reality also cruel or exhausting.
“‘So you are in West Virginia, you are in rural Ohio, or anyplace, Vermont … and the job you made use of to have earning a decent living is now in China,” he explained. “Your kid can not afford to go to college, perhaps you can not afford healthcare. You have got absolutely nothing to appear forward to. Beneath that situation, drugs turn out to be a way out.”
Sanders mentioned that if Americans’ high quality of life had been to strengthen, drug death prices would most likely fall.
The true query, he argued, is “How can we reestablish hope and optimism in the American persons?”