Beto O’Rourke Proposes ‘Drug War Justice Grants’ For People Convicted Of Nonviolent Marijuana 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,' he said.

Beto O'Rourke speaks during the Democratic Presidential Debate at Texas Southern University's Health and PE Center
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'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,' he said.

Beto O’Rourke has proposed “Drug War Justice Grants” for people convicted on nonviolent marijuana offenses. In addition, he proposes fully legalizing marijuana at the federal level and taxing and regulating it the same way alcohol is taxed and regulated, Politico reports.

O’Rourke has long made marijuana legalization a part of his platform. He was an advocate for the federal government to legalize it back when he was a city council member in El Paso. He also co-wrote a book about the effect the War on Drugs, marijuana in particular, has had on communities as well as Mexican drug cartels.

Now eyeing the White House, O’Rourke has offered what would be the key points of his legalization plan should he be elected president. Specifically, the plan calls for legalizing marijuana at the federal level and regulating it in much the same way that alcohol is taxed and regulated. That includes making every effort to ensure that the product is kept away from children and educating users about the dangers of driving while high.

Further, he proposes expunging the records of those convicted of simple marijuana possession, of using his power of clemency to release nonviolent marijuana offenders currently behind bars, and removing marijuana-related offenses as grounds for denying citizenship or deporting foreigners from the U.S.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 17: Democratic presidential candidate, former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-TX)enters the Downtown Women's Center, which serves women who are either experiencing homelessness or are formerly homeless, on Skid Row on September 17, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Skid Row is home to thousands who live on the streets or in shelters. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
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But the heart of his proposal rests on what he calls “Drug War Justice Grants,” which he hopes will be a starting point at not only ending the War on Drugs (or at least, as it applies to marijuana), but remedying some wrongs wrought by the decades-old policies of prohibition.

Specifically, he suggests a federal marijuana tax, the proceeds of which would go into a fund that would be distributed in a variety of ways. Some of that money would go directly to people who have served time for nonviolent marijuana convictions, the amount to be based on the amount of time they served.

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Other uses for the money include funding of treatment programs and re-entry services and programs in communities disproportionately affected by marijuana arrests. Further, he wants local governments to waive licensing fees for low-income people who have been convicted of nonviolent marijuana offenses, if they’re interested in getting into the legal marijuana trade.

“It’s our responsibility to begin to remedy the injustices of the past and help the people and communities most impacted by this misguided war,” he said.

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, all the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates favor legalizing marijuana, to one degree or another. Many, like O’Rourke, support going even further than just legalizing, with plans that include provisions intended to right some of the wrongs of the War on Drugs. Joe Biden is the least marijuana-positive of the candidates, only going so far as to support allowing each of the states to set their own policies.