Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren has unveiled her plan to legalize cannabis if elected, including starting the process of “delisting marijuana via the federal rule-making process” within her first 100 days if Congress failed to act on the reforms.
The plan – called A Just and Equitable Cannabis Industry – includes expungement, access to medical cannabis for military veterans through Veterans Affairs, cannabis research funding, allowing Washington D.C. to implement the taxed and regulated market approved by voters in 2014, permitting tribes to implement their own cannabis policies, protecting immigrants who work in the industry, and supporting other nations that choose to legalize the plant.
Warren unveiled the plan before a campaign stop in Denver, Colorado on Sunday and said during the rally that the reforms are “about undoing a century of racist policy that disproportionately targeted Black and Latinx communities.”
“It’s not justice when we lock up kids caught with an ounce of pot, while hedge fund managers make millions off of the legal sale of marijuana. My administration will put an end to that broken system.” – Warren, during a February 23 campaign stop in Denver, via Colorado Public Radio
In justifying her plan, Warren points to Colorado’s successes, including the $1 billion in taxes derived from the industry and the reduction in opioid-related deaths since the launch of legalized sales in the state.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the current delegate leader who is considered with Warren to be the most progressive of the candidates, indicated last August that he would legalize cannabis via executive order on his first day in office. Warren, comparatively, said she would ensure that the heads of the Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, Food and Drug Administration, and Office of National Drug Control Policy, support legalization and work toward the reforms.
Warren is one of the sponsors of the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement Act, or MORE Act which would remove cannabis from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act and allow states to set their own cannabis laws and policies. Along with federal descheduling, the bill includes a broad set of criminal justice reform and social equity provisions.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, who placed second in Saturday’s Nevada caucuses, said earlier this month that cannabis is “at the point where it has to be, basically, legalized” – walking back “gateway drug” comments from last November. Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who placed third in Nevada, has said he supports the decriminalization of all drugs. Warren placed fourth in Saturday’s Nevada caucuses.