Sanders releases plan to legalize marijuana, ensure ex-convicts benefit from it

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.) on Thursday introduced a plan to legalize marijuana and also expunge the records of people with marijuana-related convictions.

“We’re going to legalize marijuana and end the horrifically destructive war on drugs,” Sanders said in a statement. “It has disproportionately targeted people of color and ruined the lives of millions of Americans.”


“When we’re in the White House, we’re going to end the greed and corruption of the big corporations and make sure that Americans hit hardest by the war on drugs will be the first to benefit from legalization,” he added.

The plan involves taking executive action to declassify marijuana as a controlled substance and ensure that those affected by its criminalization are the first to benefit from the move.

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It also calls for a $10 billion grant program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture to invest in rural and urban farms and growing operations.

“Sanders’ proposal will also ensure that the legal marijuana industry does not turn into the big tobacco industry and he will tame the reckless greed of giant corporations,” the statement reads.

“Bernie will prohibit products and labels … that target young people, ban tobacco companies from participating in the legal marijuana industry, and will partner with USDA to establish safety inspection and quality control processes for growers and producers,” it continues.

The plan further calls for investing revenues from legal marijuana into communities most affected by the war on drugs and funding a $20 billion grant program through the Minority Business Development Agency that would provide grants both to people of color who face discrimination in capital access and people convicted of marijuana offenses.

It would also eliminate regulations that allow marijuana use to disqualify people from public benefits or public housing and ensure a marijuana-related record could not disqualify immigrants. Sanders’s plan also calls for franchise caps to prevent monopolies or profiteering.

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