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Beto O'Rourke is interviewed in the spin room after last week's debate in Houston. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Joining other 2020 Democrats, Beto O'Rourke released Thursday an "End the War on Drugs" proposal to legalize marijuana "and begin to repair the damage [the war on drugs] has done to communities of color."

Why it matters: The issue reflects how fast 2020 Democrats have moved toward their base. Legalizing marijuana, with a focus on social justice, unites the field, per the N.Y. Times.

Context: Once politically dangerous, "legal marijuana has become something of a de facto platform plank for the 2020 Democratic candidates: All support either legalizing or decriminalizing its use," per USA Today:

  • Joe Biden "is the highest-profile candidate who stops short of full legalization."

How it works: O'Rourke's plan "includes granting clemency to those currently serving sentences for marijuana possession" and " building a model for marijuana regulation similar to how alcohol is regulated."

  • With a federal tax on the marijuana industry, O'Rourke wants to "guarantee that opportunities to profit from a regulated marijuana market are made available to communities disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs."

Go deeper: Where the top 2020 Democrats stand on criminal justice reform

Go deeper

32 mins ago - Health

Fauci: COVID vaccine rollout needs to prioritize people of color

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci highlighted the need to address racial disparities in the COVID-19 vaccination process, per an interview with The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.

What he’s saying: "I think that's the one thing we really got to be careful of. We don't want in the beginning ... most of the people who are getting it are otherwise, well, middle-class white people."

The Mischief Makers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Several Republican and Democratic lawmakers are emerging as troublemakers within their parties and political thorns for their leadership.

Why it matters: We're calling this group "The Mischief Makers" — members who threaten to upend party unity — the theme eclipsing Washington at the moment — and potentially jeopardize the Democrats' or Republicans' position heading into the 2022 midterms.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Obama speechwriter fears Biden unity drive is one-sided

Cody Keenan (right) is shown heading to Marine One in December 2009. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Obama's former speechwriter says he's "preemptively frustrated" with President Biden's effort to find unity with Republicans.

What they're saying: Cody Keenan told Axios that Biden's messaging team has "struck all the right chords," but at some point "they're gonna have to answer questions like, 'Why didn't you achieve unity?' when there's an entire political party that's already acting to stop it."