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 marijuana.
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.
Rolling Stone 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.”