Sen. Bernie Sanders Lays Out Plan To Legalize Marijuana

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Sen. Bernie
Sanders
 (I-Vt.)
on
Thursday
unveiled
a
proposal
to

legalize
marijuana

within
his
first
100
days
in
office
as
president
with
an
executive
order.

Sanders
vowed
to
immediately
declassify
marijuana
as
a
controlled
substance
under
the
Controlled
Substances
Act
if
elected
president.

Federal
law
currently
classifies
marijuana
as
a
Schedule
I
drug

along
with
heroin,
LSD
and
ecstasy,
meaning
it
is
considered
to
have
no
medicinal
use
and
have
a
high
potential
for
abuse.

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

The
Democratic
presidential
contender
plans
to
expunge
all
past
marijuana
convictions

on
a
state
and
federal
level

and
to
use
a
federal
marijuana
sales
tax
to
fund
a
$20
billion
grant
program
that
would
benefit
minority
entrepreneurs
and
aspiring
entrepreneurs
who
had
been
previously
arrested
for
marijuana
offenses.

Sanders’
plan
also
prevents
the
tobacco
industry
from
taking
over
the
legalized
marijuana
sales
industry
and
offers
incentives
to
entrepreneurs
who
opt
to
start
their
marijuana-based
businesses
as
cooperatives
and
nonprofits
instead
of
for-profit
enterprises.

“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,”
the
senator
said
in
his
state

Sanders
is
not
the
first
Democratic
contender
to
back
broad
reform
on
laws
prohibiting
marijuana
use.
Sen.
Elizabeth
Warren
(D-Mass.)
also
supports
legalizing
marijuana,
declassifying
it
as
a
Schedule
I
drug
and
expunging
past
marijuana
convictions.

Former
Vice
President
Joe
Biden
supports
decriminalizing
marijuana
and
expunging
past
convictions,
though
he
has
proposed
classifying
the
drug
as
a
Schedule
II
substance.
Doing
so
would
place
the
severity
of
marijuana
on
par
with
15
milligrams
of
hydrocodone,
oxycodone,
methadone,
fentanyl
or
Adderall
instead
of
completely
legalizing
it.

Sanders
has
long
advocated
for
the
legalization
of
marijuana.
In
February,
the
senator
co-sponsored
a
bill
with
Warren,
Sen.
Cory
Booker
(D-N.J.),
Sen.
Kamala
Harris
(D-Calif.)
and
Sen.
Michael
Bennet
(D-Colo.)
aimed
at
legalizing
marijuana
and
expunging
past
marijuana
offenses
on
a
federal
level.

Sanders
returned
to
his
campaign
last
weekend
with
a
rally
in
Queens,
New
York,
after
taking
a
break
after
having
a
heart
attack.

At
the
Saturday
rally,
the
senator
said
his
plans
to
legalize
the
drug
would
also
involve
tackling
criminal
justice
reform
and
racial
injustices.

“We
are
going
to
end
the
horrifically
destructive
war
on
drugs
and
legalize
marijuana,”
Sanders
told
his
supporters.
“And
we
are
going
to
end
the
disgrace
of
400,000
people
right
now
locked
behind
bars
because
they
are
too
poor
to
afford
cash
bail.”

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