Bernie Sanders has released his cannabis legalization plan if he wins the presidential election in 2020.
The senator has always been outspoken on his pro-cannabis views. It is interesting to note that Sanders’ Democratic competitor Joe Biden does not support any form of cannabis use. In fact, Biden was a huge driving force behind the War on Drugs during his time in the senate from 1973 to 2009. Sanders says the War on Drugs “has disproportionately targeted people of color and ruined the lives of millions of Americans.”
Cannabis is currently listed as a Schedule 1 substance, meaning the federal government categorizes it with other substances that have been shown to have a high potential for abuse as well as having no medicinal value. Under Bernie Sanders’ plan, he will take executive action to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act.
The Sanders’ administration says all past convictions will be expunged and ‘[they will] allow people with marijuana convictions to contact the state to ensure the list did not miss them. [The Sanders’ administration] will grant people with marijuana-related convictions an administrative remedy, if, after two years, the state has not taken action on their sentences and records.”
Bernie Sanders wants the revenue produced by legal cannabis sales reinvested into the communities that were most affected by the War on Drugs. They will do this [by creating] a $10 billion grant program to focus on businesses that are at least 51% owned or controlled by those in disproportionately impacted areas or individuals who have been arrested for or convicted of marijuana offenses. [They will also] provide formerly incarcerated individuals with training and resources needed to start their own businesses and worker-owned businesses, and guarantee jobs and free job training at trade schools and apprenticeship programs related to marijuana businesses.”
Ensuring that legalized cannabis does not turn into Big Tobacco is a priority for Sanders’ administration. Bernie Sanders says he will incentivize cannabis businesses to be structured like nonprofits. His administration will also prohibit products and labels that target those who are not old enough to consume cannabis legally, as well as banning companies that have created cancer-causing products. Big Tobacco has been guilty of advertising to children in the past using tactics like using popular hashtags to be part of social media conversations, putting their products in movies and video games, and making products that look and taste like candy. The presidential candidate says he does not want any tobacco companies participating in the cannabis industry.
Bernie Sanders seems determined to create a booming and beneficial cannabis industry within the United States. His plan is a far cry from the United States’ current position when it comes to cannabis, so many are anxiously awaiting the rollout of his cannabis plan if he becomes president of the United States.