Presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has pledged to legalize marijuana across the United States through executive order the first day he takes office, if he wins (which is seeming increasing likely passed on recent polling).
“We will end the destructive war on drugs,” Sanders said at a rally in Cedar Rapids, reports Forbes. “On my first day in office through executive order we will legalize marijuana in every state in this country.”
Sanders continued: “We will move forward to expunge the records of those arrested for possession of marijuana. And we will make certain that the legalized marijuana industry is not controlled by a handful of corporations but that those people—the African-American community, the Latino community, the Native American community—those people who have suffered the most will get help in order to make money through a legalized marijuana industry.”
As noted by Forbe’s Tom Angell, “The executive branch does have authority under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to reclassify cannabis without further action from Congress, but the details of the process involve steps by the attorney general and the health and human services secretary—Sanders designees unlikely to be installed on his “first day.” Current law also means that international drug treaties could complicate moves by an administration to deschedule marijuana from the CSA entirely. And, when it comes to enacting legalization in every state, there’s not much a president can do to force the repeal of local criminalization laws.”
The Washington Post reported recently that Sanders campaign aides included marijuana legalization in a list of possible executive orders to take place in early 2021 if he becomes president.
In 2015 Sanders filed the first ever marijuana legalization bill in the U.S. Senate.