In an email to supporters on Friday, former presidential candidate and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (I) said that the U.S. government should start prosecuting more white-collar crimes and business offenses rather than cannabis crimes, Common Dreams reported. In the email, the Independent from Vermont wrote that instead of disproportionately arresting poor people and people of color for cannabis use, the Justice Department should “start prosecuting the crooks on Wall Street for laundering money from drug cartels, suspected terrorists, and corrupt foreign officials.”
“We have a criminal justice system today that is not only broken – it is racist and it is unjust,” Sanders wrote.
He also called on Congress to legalize cannabis at the Federal level.
“We must reform our broken and racist criminal justice system, and one of the ways we can do that is by finally legalizing marijuana at the federal level. It starts with changing the Federal Controlled Substances Act which, if you can believe it, currently puts marijuana in the same category as heroin. That’s absurd and defies all scientific judgment.” – Sanders, in an email, via Common Dreams
The email included a link to a petition calling on Congress to pass a legalization measure.
Sanders’s remarks come at a time when a Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse study found white-collar prosecutions are down 24.4% from five years ago. Additionally, a Public Citizen investigation found only 90 corporations pleaded guilty or were found guilty of a federal crime last year, a record low, according to the report.
These numbers are in stark contrast to the 350,150 Americans arrested for cannabis in 2020 — down from 545,602 in 2019 — and 92% of those were for simple possession, according to Common Dreams.
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Bernie Sanders Urges Justice Dept. to Prosecute White Collar Crimes More Than Cannabis