- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 19, 2019

Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke on Thursday released a plan to legalize marijuana at the federal level that includes a proposal to dole out monthly grants to people formerly incarcerated for marijuana-related offenses.

“We need to not only end the prohibition on marijuana, but also repair the damage done to the communities of color disproportionately locked up in our criminal justice system or locked out of opportunity because of the War on Drugs,” said Mr. O’Rourke, a former congressman from Texas.

Mr. O’Rourke would seek to end the federal prohibition on marijuana and remove it from the controlled substances list. He would model a regulatory system along the lines of what’s used for alcohol, limiting sales to adults and investing in marijuana “breathalyzer” technology and ignition interlock devices.

He would impose a new federal tax on the marijuana industry, with the proceeds going toward a monthly “drug war justice grant” to those who had been imprisoned for nonviolent marijuana-related offenses, substance abuse treatment programs, and re-entry services for formerly incarcerated people.

He would also end “cannabis-related” charges as grounds for deportation or denial of citizenship.

Mr. O’Rourke joins other 2020 Democratic presidential contenders who have laid out their own marijuana legalization or decriminalization plans.

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