When it comes to cannabis, Bernie Sanders has been the most consistently pro-legalization politician on Capitol Hill. As a key part of his 2020 presidential bid, he has crafted a plan which would shape the industry for years to come with points of action aimed at leveling the playing field and keeping it level.
Sanders’ legalization plan is designed to clap back at the War on Drugs by vacating and expunging past cannabis convictions. Legal cannabis revenue would be put back into communities that have been disproportionately hit by the war on drugs. One $20 billion grant program would be put in place to provide business grants to entrepreneurs of color through the Minority Business Development Agency. Another $10 billion grant will focus on businesses at least 51% owned by individuals who have been arrested or convicted of cannabis offenses.
Team Bernie has also listed six points of action that are aimed at protecting the industry from being immediately taken over by major corporations. These include:
- Provide resources for entrepreneurs to incentivize starting cooperatives and collectives that will bolster economic growth and create jobs in local communities.
- Enforce the prohibition of products and labels that appeal to young people.
- Companies who have formerly created cancer-causing products or have been found guilty of deceptive marketing will be banned from the industry.
- Tobacco and cigarette corporations will be banned from entering the cannabis space.
- Market share and franchise caps will be put in place to prevent profiteering and consolidation.
- Partner with the USDA to establish safety inspection and quality control processes for producers, creating safety and trust in legal marijuana products.
Sanders argues that points listed above, in combination with the community grants and expungements, would lay a foundation for a diverse collection of small businesses to forge the legal cannabis industry. Although big tobacco companies have already begun making moves into the industry, these statutes on legalization could establish equality where it was previously lacking.
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