Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders may be adding the pro-cannabis vote to his list of supporters. This afternoon, Sanders officially announced his support for removing marijuana from the government’s list of dangerous drugs during a town hall meeting at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA.
Sanders’ endorsement makes him the first presidential candidate to call for the complete removal of marijuana from the DEA’s schedule of controlled substances. Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has stated repeatedly that she wants to wait and see what happens in states that have already legalized cannabis before taking a firm position.
While Sander’s proposal would not automatically legalize marijuana, it would allow states to regulate it in the same manner that they currently regulate alcohol and tobacco. The proposal would also allow marijuana businesses in states that have already legalized the substance to utilize banking services and apply for standard business tax deductions that are currently banned to them. Additionally, the removal of cannabis from the DEA’s scheduled narcotics list would finally allow it to be studied for research and medicinal purposes.
Sanders’ statement comes at a time when support for cannabis legalization is at an all-time high, with 58% of Americans currently in favor.