Bernie Sanders Talks Marijuana ‘Differences’ With Biden, Who He Says Could Enact Reforms But Chooses Not To
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) says President Joe Biden could and should use executive authority to end federal marijuana prohibition on his own—but the two of them have “differences” when it comes to drug policy. During a recent podcast interview on Krystal Kyle & Friends, the senator at first cautioned that the president is limited in what he can do unilaterally. But when host Krystal Ball rattled off a list of things Biden could theoretically change with executive action, including changing cannabis’s federal classification, Sanders replied that “yes” he could do that.
As a Democratic presidential candidate in 2020, Sanders himself pledged that he would legalize marijuana across the country on his first day in office if elected. That idea has been questioned by some expects, however, as there are unique challenges associated with a presidential move to unilaterally remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). To reschedule marijuana through the executive branch, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) or an outside party would have to file a petition, which would then be reviewed by the attorney general, who has usually delegated that responsibility to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The attorney general can also initiate the process on their own, requesting a scientific review directly to HHS. Under HHS, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would then assess the scientific, medical and public health implications before submitting that review to the Justice Department, which would then effectuate the appropriate reclassification under federal law. But even if Biden did have the legal authority to federally legalize marijuana himself, it stands the reason that he would not go that far. Sanders noted in the new podcast interview that the president does not share his perspective on the issue. “Joe Biden and I on marijuana—I…