At an Iowa town hall event focused on Democrats’ large-scale budget plan, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders said he believes Congress is “making progress” toward federally legalizing marijuana and ending the drug war.
“My own view is that the so-called war on drugs has been an abysmal failure. It has destroyed god knows how many lives, disproportionately African American and Latino,” said Sanders. “What you are now seeing is a radical change of consciousness with regard to that war. You are seeing state after state after state legalizing marijuana. I would legalize marijuana nationally. But we are making some progress in state after state.”
State-level cannabis reform efforts suggest bipartisan support for legalization. It’s unclear whether there’s the same level of congressional support for legalization at the federal level.
Recently, Sanders said Pres. Biden could and should use executive authority to end federal marijuana prohibition. As a 2020 presidential candidate, Sanders pledged on the campaign trail that he would legalize marijuana across the country on his first day in office.
Advocates have criticized the Biden administration for failing to enact the reforms Biden promised — decriminalizing possession, expunging past records — it’s likely that it will fall to Congress to fulfill those goals.