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Bernie Sanders debuts plan at 4:20 pm to legalize marijuana

Bernie Sanders.
Photo: Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images

2020 presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) released a proposal precisely at 4:20 pm on Thursday to legalize marijuana at the federal level, per a campaign email.

The big picture: Marijuana legalization has become an increasingly popular stance within the Democratic Party, but Sanders' proposal appears to be one of the most progressive in the 2020 field. Sanders says he would legalize marijuana within 100 days via executive action and fight against large marijuana companies monopolizing the market to ensure communities of color are able to benefit from the industry.

  • 11 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized marijuana, but it is still illegal at the federal level.
  • Sanders says his administration "will direct both federal and state authorities to review marijuana convictions and vacate and expunge all past marijuana-related convictions."
  • The plan would also "eliminate barriers to public benefits for people who have interacted with the criminal justice system."

By the numbers: Sanders also proposed using marijuana tax revenue to create a $20 billion grant program for entrepreneurs of color.

  • Tax revenue would also create another $10 billion in grant programs for businesses in areas that have been disproportionately affected by the criminalization of marijuana.

Go deeper: Axios' deep dive on the growing marijuana industry