In a historical move on Wednesday Nov. 4, Bernie Sanders introduced legislation to the Senate to remove cannabis from federal scheduling under the Controlled Substances Act. This is the first time a bill to end federal cannabis prohibition has been filed in the United States Senate.
The legislation, cited as ‘‘Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2015,” would remove cannabis from it’s current Schedule I status, and repeal certain cannabis related penalties. The bill amends the Controlled Substances Act to be void of “marihuana” and ‘‘tetrahydrocannabinols.’’ This means that cannabis and all derived concentrates would no longer be classified as having no medicinal value in the United States. This would leave it up to each individual state to choose whether or not to legalize without intervention from the federal government.
Should the legislation introduced by Sen. Sanders be approved, shipping and transporting cannabis would remain illegal. Anyone caught illegally transporting would face up to one year in prison and fines.
Veteran activist and founder of Marijuana Majority, Tom Angell, pointed out that the introduction of this legislation proves that the rejection of the legalization initiative, Issue 3, by Ohio voters on Tuesday had nothing to do with the overall support for cannabis policy reform in America.
“The introduction of this bill proves that the defeat of the Ohio marijuana monopoly measure that wasn’t widely supported in our movement isn’t doing anything to slow down our national momentum.”
“This is the first time a bill to end federal marijuana prohibition has been introduced in the U.S. Senate. A growing majority of Americans want states to be able to enact their own marijuana laws without harassment from the DEA, and lawmakers should listen.”
The most recent Gallup Poll showed that the majority of American voters support ending cannabis prohibition in the United States with 58 percent of participants responding that the use of marijuana should be legal.
photo credit: NYULocal