Senator Bernie Sanders has unveiled a comprehensive plan to legalize marijuana nationally. The 2020 Democratic presidential candidate released his plan on Thursday, saying he aims to expunge all past marijuana-related convictions and invest $50 billion from legal marijuana tax revenue in minority-owned businesses. Under the plan, Sanders plans to legalize marijuana by executive action in his first 100 days as President, expunge all past marijuana-related convictions, ensure that revenue from legal marijuana is invested in communities hit hardest by the War on Drugs, and also ensure that legalized marijuana does not turn into Big Tobacco. Sanders said that as President, he will take executive action to legalize marijuana by removing it from the Controlled Substance Act and nominate an attorney general, HHS secretary, and DEA administrator who will all work to legalize marijuana. He noted that marijuana legalization is supported by a majority of the American people. Currently, eleven states have legalized recreational marijuana, while 33 states have legalized medical marijuana. The independent senator from Vermont said he will create a $20 billion grant program within the Minority Business Development Agency to provide grants to "entrepreneurs of color who continue to face discrimination in access to capital." The Senator also plans to create a $10 billion grant program to help businesses that are majority-owned or controlled by people in disproportionately impacted areas, or individuals who have been arrested for or convicted of marijuana offenses. Sanders added that he intends to use revenue from marijuana sales to establish a targeted $10 billion USDA grant program to help these individuals start farms or marijuana growing operations. He also intends to allocate another $10 billion toward a targeted economic and community development fund to provide grants to communities hit hardest by the War on Drugs. In order to ensure that legalized marijuana does not turn into Big Tobacco, he will provide incentives to marijuana businesses to be structured like non-profits, prevent products that target young people, and also ban tobacco companies from participating in the marijuana industry.
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