After a speech last week in which he called for an end to prohibition of marijuana, Democratic presidential candidate and Senator Bernie Sanders introduced a bill Wednesday to remove cannabis from its current designation as a Schedule I drug.
Sanders has been an outspoken proponent of ending the war on marijuana, both during his presidential campaign and during his time in the U.S. Senate. “It is absurd that it is compared to, or treated, the same way as heroin is,” Sanders told The Daily Beast Tuesday.
“This is the first time a bill to end federal marijuana prohibition has been introduced in the U.S. Senate,” Tom Angell, the chairman of the pro-legalization group Marijuana Majority, told BuzzFeed News. “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 bill would not legalize marijuana, but rather leave its legal status up to individual states. It would ban interstate transport of marijuana, but it is still the most wide-sweeping marijuana bill to be introduced in the Senate, which is traditionally more reserved than the House on this issue.
Sen. Rand Paul, who is running for the Republican nomination for president, joined Democratic senators Corey Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand in introducing a bill earlier this year that would lift the federal ban on medical marijuana.