In an interview on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, U.S. Senator and presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) said he would legalize cannabis nationwide via executive order, according to a report by Leafly.
“What I call for now is the legalization of marijuana in America. I believe we can do that through executive order, and I will do that.” – Sanders, on the Joe Rogan Experience
In the crowded Democratic candidate field, the majority support federal cannabis legalization; however, Sanders is the only candidate to indicate he would use an executive order to enact the reforms.
During the interview, Sanders called expunging low-level cannabis crime records “the right thing to do” and described the Controlled Substances Act as “insane.”
“Heroin is a killer drug. You can argue the pluses and minuses of marijuana, but marijuana ain’t heroin,” the Senator said during the interview. “So we have to end that, and that’s what I will do.”
The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) endorsed Sanders during his 2018 Senate reelection campaign, calling him “one of the most outspoken and visible advocates for ending marijuana prohibition.”
Sanders received an A-plus on the organization’s Congressional Scorecard for his sponsorship of a measure to end federal cannabis prohibition and another to provide banking access to the industry. Sanders first co-sponsored a bill to legalize cannabis federally in 1995. In a 2015 campaign rally, he called cannabis’ Schedule I status “absurd.”
During his interview with Rogan, Sanders also acknowledged the “good news” that some states are working toward expunging low-level cannabis crimes from criminal records.
According to an Economist-YouGov poll released on Wednesday, Sanders is polling third (13 percent) for the Democratic nomination behind Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (16 percent) and former Vice President and Senator Joe Biden (22 percent).
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