During an interview with Joe Rogan on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, Sen. Bernie Sanders said he would not hesitate to legalize cannabis via an executive order. The senator continues to remain steadfast in his views of the harms of the drug war and they way cannabis is treated in the country.
Sanders slammed the decision to classify cannabis alongside heroin under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. “That is insane. Heroin is a killer drug,” Sanders said on the episode. “You can argue the plusses and minuses of marijuana, but marijuana ain’t heroin. So we have to end that and that’s what I will do as President of the United States. I believe we can do that through executive order and I will do that.”
Little has changed in Sanders’ views on cannabis since he ran for the Democratic nomination four years ago. Four years ago, Sanders became the first presidential candidate from a major party to endorse full legalization of cannabis. In 2016, Sanders also highlighted the country’s broken criminal justice system.
“I think ultimately we have got to legalize marijuana, and what’s good news is some communities, some cities, are expunging the records. So if you were arrested [and] have a criminal record for selling marijuana, that is being expunged. And that is the right thing to do.”
Sanders has remained stable through the years as a supporter of cannabis-related rights. According to NORML’s 2020 Democratic Party marijuana straw poll, Sen. Sanders earned an A+ grade in cannabis reform policy.
Last April, Sanders signed on as a co-sponsor of Sen. Cory Booker’s Marijuana Justice Act, which would completely remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act. Several other presidential candidates on the Democratic ticket, including Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg have alluded to their intentions of also legalizing cannabis at the federal level. Joe Biden, on the other hand, would decriminalize cannabis.
As far as legalizing other drugs, Sanders indicated that he wasn’t open to the idea “at this point.”