His ambitious plan includes billions in grants toward expunging convictions and minority-owned MJ businesses.
At 4:20 on October 24, the Bernie Sanders campaign released his policy roadmap to marijuana legalization.
If elected, Sanders plans to invest tax revenue from legal marijuana towards expunging all past marijuana criminal charges as well as provide grants to minority-owned marijuana businesses.
He Would Reclassify Marijuana In His First 100 Days
Not only is his campaign dreaming big, it’s dreaming fast—Sanders promises to have marijuana legalized within his first 100 days in office, if elected. This includes the reclassification of marijuana away from Schedule I as well as filling his cabinet with staff “who will all work to aggressively end the drug war.”
His administration would review “all marijuana convictions” and determine which can be expunged on a case-by-case basis, for convictions on both the state and federal level. Federal funds would be diverted to local governments to help with the relevant convictions. If any case stagnates for two years, the Sanders administration themselves would provide an “administrative remedy.”
It’s Going To Cost Around $50 Billion
Sanders’ big plans are going to take big money. His plan is to divert $50 billion in legal marijuana tax revenue towards grants and community development. The largest cut, about $20 million, will go to the Minority Business Development Agency to aid cannabis entrepreneurs who come from disadvantaged racial backgrounds.
Another $10 billion will go towards aiding businesses whose owners reside in parts of the nation disproportionately damaged by the drug war.
About $10 billion more will be doled out as grants to former marijuana offenders or drug war-damaged areas so they can start “urban and rural” marijuana farming operations. The last $10 billion will be provided to a “targeted economic and community development fund” that aims to assist areas heavily affected by the opioid crisis.
Taking On Big Tobacco
His campaign also pledges to take aim at the Big Tobacco capitalists that have been positioning themselves to swoop in once marijuana is legalized. Altria, the tobacco giant behind Marlboro, has already made billion-dollar investments in the largest existing marijuana company.
Sanders’ administration would stop “tobacco/cigarette corporations from participating in the marijuana industry.”
Some tobacco companies are already involved in the marijuana industry, such as the aforementioned corporation Atria, and the Sanders campaign hasn’t commented on if and how it will push those influences out of the industry.
There also isn’t word on whether alcohol companies would be allowed to participate in the marijuana industry either, which is a concern considering Molson Coors and Constellation Brands have already invested in marijuana, as USA Today noted.