Sanders: Tax and regulate pot like alcohol and cigarettes

strong>FAIRFAX, Va. — While speaking to college students on Wednesday night, Sen. Bernie Sanders called for the legalization and regulation of marijuana, so that people in possession of the substance would be treated no differently than people smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol.

"In the United States we have 2.2 million people in jail today, more than any other country. And we're spending about $80 billion a year to lock people up. We need major changes in our criminal justice system, including changes in drug laws," the Democratic presidential candidate said while speaking at a gathering of college students at George Mason University.

He added, "Too many Americans have seen their lives destroyed because they have criminal records as a result of marijuana use. That's wrong. That has got to change."

Under the senator's proposal, states would regulate marijuana in the same way that they regulate alcohol and tobacco. But Sanders would allow law enforcement officers to arrest drug dealers for trafficking marijuana sales outside of the federally regulated system.