Marijuana Reform in the United States:
Currently in the United States, marijuana reform is happening slowly. There are 23 states that have passed legislation that permits medical marijuana and just under a handful of states that have passed legislation that permits the recreational use of marijuana by adults over the age of 21. Although most states are now considering reform, the process is relatively slow due, in part, to the fact that marijuana is still holds a Schedule 1 classification as is illegal on a federal level. Changing the federal status of marijuana would be a significant win for marijuana reform and would act as the catalysts for more efficient and effective marijuana legalization. Current presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, is attempting to ignite this catalyst.
Bernie Sanders and Federal Marijuana Reform:
This week, Bernie Sanders introduced a bill in the Senate that could put an end to federal marijuana prohibition. The bill is titled the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act and if passed, it would remove marijuana from the federal list of Schedule 1 drugs. Since marijuana is currently categorized as a Schedule 1 drug, it is classified with other drugs that are considered very dangerous. According to the federal government’s classification system, Schedule 1 drugs have no accepted medical use, are considered very dangerous, and have a high potential for abuse. Sanders wishes to change this classification. Although many states have already legalized marijuana in some form, removing it from the list of Schedule 1 drugs would free states and citizens from potential ramifications of using a substance still banned by the federal government. Right now, four states have passed legislation that permit the recreational use of marijuana. Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Washington D.C. have laws passed that legalize the use of recreational marijuana. The bill introduced by Bernie Sanders, if passed, could greatly increase the number of states in which marijuana prohibition ends. Sanders relays that states could still have the ability to outlaw marijuana in the state if the voters make this choice. It would be up to the voters. Without the fear of government interference, marijuana reform would then truly be up to the states.
Currently, the bill entitled Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, was presented to the Senate this week on Wednesday and will have to pass through the Senate and the House. If it does, the legislation would allow all states in the U.S. to decide if legal marijuana is something that is appropriate or not. Marijuana reform would be free to truly take shape.