In an interview with Stacey Walker of the Public Access TV show Little Village, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said that he does not agree with how U.S. marijuana laws work.
Walker asked for Sanders’ thoughts regarding the “War on Drugs,” which has cost billions in tax dollars over the years and put millions of Americans — a majority of whom are black and Latino — behind bars.
One of the things that hasn’t been spoken about a great deal so far in the race for 2016, is the decriminalization of marijuana, said Walker. “Do you have a policy position on that?” he asked Sanders.
“My home state of Vermont has decriminalized marijuana and I support that,” the senator said. “In other words, if you are possessing a small amount of marijuana it should not be a criminal offense, it will be civil, and you might have to pay a fine on that.”
“I support marijuana use for medical purposes,” Sanders continued, “and we’re exploring the pluses and minuses — of which there are both — of moving more aggressively on that issue.”
“Do you believe that it is the purview of the federal government to legislate the criminalization of marijuana?” Walker asked.
“What the federal government can do is say to the state of Colorado that if you choose to vote to legalize marijuana, we will allow you to do that without restrictions,” said Sanders.
“As I understand it,” he said, “in Colorado, people who run marijuana shops can’t put their money in banks, for example. That’s a violation of federal law. So I think there are things that the federal government can do that would make it easier for states that want to go in that direction to be able to do so.”
“Would you be in favor of having the federal government be more active in moving in that direction?” Walker said.
“That’s something we’ll have more to say about,” said Sanders. “It’s a very good question and it’s a fair question. Let me not jump on what I want to be more thoughtful about in the coming weeks and months.”
Watch video of the discussion, embedded below: