Updated on January 21, 2020.
Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Democratic presidential candidate
Senator Bernie Sanders released a plan to legalize marijuana last Thursday—at
4:20 pm. Setting himself apart from the other candidates, he said he would use
executive action to legalize marijuana within 100 days of taking office, Vox reported.
He would direct the attorney general to declassify marijuana as a controlled
substance and push Congress to pass a bill ensuring permanent legalization of
His plan would use tax revenue from
marijuana sales to create a grant program for entrepreneurs of color, to push
money back into communities negatively affected by the War on Drugs. Decades of
harsh laws and sentencing requirements have “disproportionately targeted
people of color and ruined the lives of millions of Americans,” Sanders
said in a statement, reported by CNN.
The plan also aims to prevent a “Big
Tobacco” model from taking over the industry. It provides incentives for
cannabis businesses to become nonprofits, bans tobacco companies and companies guilty
of deceptive marketing from the cannabis industry, and establishes federal
regulation for the safety of cannabis products.
summed up why Sanders’ plan stands out from other candidates’ proposals: “The Sanders’ proposal is unique in that it
takes a comprehensive and more long-term approach toward the cannabis
marketplace, and ensures that small business owners will be able to have a
piece of the pie.”