By Misha Euceph
DAVENPORT, Iowa — Bernie Sanders renewed his call for the legalization of marijuana, framing it at a campaign rally here as a racially charged criminal justice issue.
“We’ve got to rethink the so-called war on drugs,” Sanders told supporters at the Danceland Ballroom on Friday. “Right now, in the Federal Controlled Substance Act, marijuana is in the same Schedule I as heroin.”
The Vermont senator introduced a bill in November to remove marijuana from the list of schedule I substances. He favors legalization across the country, but said he would leave the decision to state legislatures.
Four states have legalized marijuana for recreational use, while more than a dozen others permit medicinal use.
The Drug Enforcement Administration defines Schedule I substances as “drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” The agency classifies them as “the most dangerous of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence.”
Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not currently approved marijuana as a medicinal drug, two FDA approved drugs contain marijuana-derived chemicals, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.