Speed Reads

Pot politics

Bernie Sanders says he'd take marijuana off the federal drug list

On Wednesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) declared that he is in favor of removing marijuana from the list of illegal drugs deemed most dangerous by the federal government.

"Too many Americans have seen their lives destroyed because they have criminal records as a result of marijuana use," Sanders said during a town hall at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. "That's wrong. That has got to change." Marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it is considered to have a high potential for abuse and not accepted for medical treatment. If marijuana is taken off the list, it wouldn't make pot legal across the country, but states would be able to regulate it the same way state and local laws govern alcohol and tobacco sales, The Washington Post reports. In states where marijuana is legal, users would also no longer run the risk of federal prosecution.

Sanders' fellow Democratic presidential candidates have different stances: Hillary Clinton has said she wants to see how legalization works in states like Colorado and Washington before enacting federal changes, and former governor of Maryland Martin O'Malley said he would reclassify marijuana as a Schedule 2 drug. Last week, the Brookings Institute said that marijuana's scheduling status is "stifling medical research," and the American Medical Association has said the status needs to be "reviewed with the goal of facilitating the conduct of clinical research."