“I’ve done marijuana twice in my life when I was very young. And what it did for me is it made me cough a lot. That was my response. But I gather other people have had different experiences.”
Sanders used his experiences to illustrate the misplaced logic behind the Controlled Substances Act. Marijuana is ranked alongside heroin as a Schedule I substance, which indicates the law views marijuana as highly addictive and of no medicinal value.
While he isn’t a current cannabis consumer, Sanders does not agree that it should remain classified as a Schedule I substance. In his address to supporters in Michigan, he exclaimed:
“Everybody here know and I know that heroin is a killer drug, and we need to stay away from heroin. And we ned to do everything we can to make sure our kids don’t get addicted to heroin. We also know, and people can argue this ’til the cows come home and scientists dispute it, marijuana is not heroin. I’m not here advocating for marijuana. I’ve done marijuana twice in my life when I was very young. And what it did for me is it made me cough a lot. That was my response. But I gather other people have had different experiences, I don’t know. Marijuana is listed as a Schedule I drug alongside of heroin. (The audience booed.) I agree, and that is why I believe we should take marijuana out of the federal Controlled Substances Act.”
This candid admittance has gained the attention of Stephen Colbert who did a comical bit about it on The Late Show, which you can watch here:
Sanders’ Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton supports a rescheduling of marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule II substance to allow for further research, but leaders of the marijuana legalization community insist this would be a formality rather than true reform.
“The rescheduling of marijuana is a step in the right direction, but only going down to Schedule 2 is mostly a symbolic move,”
said Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority.
“It may make research slightly easier, but on its own wouldn’t do anything to protect seriously ill people who are using marijuana in accordance with state laws from being harassed by the DEA. Only changing the federal criminal statutes can effectively do that.”
Should Sanders be elected, he would be the 12th president known to have tried cannabis. While on the campaign trail in 2006, President Barack Obama commented on his use of marijuana as an adolescent, “When I was a kid, I inhaled frequently. That was the point.”