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2016 may be a historical year for cannabis. The “marijuana majority” could make its mark on the upcoming presidential election, with 58% of Americans in favor of legalization. With his educated policies, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is already blazing the trails toward cannabis reform.

Bernie Sanders recently proposed the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Bill, which would remove marijuana from the DEA’s schedule of controlled substances. Here’s how the passage of this bill and Bernie Sanders’ grassroots politics could shape the future of cannabis.

Marijuana belongs to the people, not Big Money

bernie2 Bern One Up With Bernie Sanders
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Bernie Sanders realizes the Drug War is a failure, and he believes our country is threatened by a drug far more dangerous than cannabis: money.

“It is not acceptable that many young people have criminal records for smoking marijuana, while the CEOs of banks whose illegal behavior helped destroy our economy do not.” Senator Bernie Sanders

Even with business booming in states like Colorado and Washington, the cannabis industry has struggled under federal scrutiny. If marijuana policy is like a child in the American political landscape, then institutions like the IRS and the Federal Reserve are playground bullies. The IRS taxes cannabusinesses at rates as high as 80-90% but doesn’t allow them to claim deductibles the way other businesses can. Then, the Federal Reserve won’t accept their money, making banking impossible.

If Bernie’s bill successfully removes the federal ban, Big Money will have to find someone else to pester. The emerging cannabis industry will be allowed to flourish and grow. And scientific research can move forward, shedding new light on the medicinal powers of cannabis.

We(ed) the People

Bernie Sander’s bill would give states the power to vote on legalization. A number of states are already pushing for new reform laws in 2016, and without a federal ban, there will likely be a domino effect of legalization. By allowing the states to vote on this issue, Sanders’ would accomplish two things:

  1. Make Republicans and Democrats happy, as both parties tend to agree this should be a states’ issue
  2. Get state voters politically involved in a grassroots movement.

Across all issues, Bernie Sanders wants people to be involved in the political process. If voters are politically active when it comes to the legalization of marijuana, then hopefully more people will be represented in America’s next billion dollar industry. 

Legalization is inevitable, but it doesn’t mean that our conversations about marijuana will end. The emerging industry will constantly be evolving, with new challenges and obstacles to overcome. Sanders’ politics encourage people to unite and solve these problems together. In the spirit of true democracy, find ways you can help cannabis reform in your state.

And in the hopes of all 2016 can be, let’s bern one up with Bernie Sanders.

How do you want the marijuana reform to be handled? Let us know what you think on social media or in the comments section below.

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