Published in


Kirsten Gillibrand

Jun 5, 2019

5 min read

It’s time to legalize marijuana nationwide. Here’s my plan to do it.

Marijuana legalization is a criminal justice issue, a health care issue, and an economic issue. It’s past time to make this happen at the federal level.

  • Establish a national process to make marijuana production and consumption clean, safe, and sustainable
  • Expunge all non-violent marijuana convictions
  • Invest in research for medicinal applications, and require coverage for medical marijuana in all health insurance plans, including Medicare, Medicaid, and the VA
  • Legalize and tax recreational marijuana nationwide, and direct revenue towards programs that help repair the damage done by the War on Drugs
  • Normalize cannabis businesses’ tax treatment and allow access to the banking system
  • Create equity for small business investment in the cannabis industry, lifting up communities that have been most hurt by marijuana laws

Decriminalize marijuana and expunge all non-violent marijuana charges

There’s no denying that our application of marijuana laws is wildly unjust. And while we have to stop the mass incarceration of people of color, we also have to take steps to make things right for those who’ve already been affected.

Invest in research and expand access to medical marijuana

Marijuana has enormous benefits for a wide range of medical issues, from chronic pain to cancer treatments. It can help combat our opioid addiction epidemic, and has helped thousands of our veterans treat mental and physical health conditions. As part of legalization, I will ensure access to coverage for medical marijuana in all private health insurance plans, as well as federal programs like the VA, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Completely legalize and tax marijuana for adult recreational use

We should see ending the prohibition of marijuana as similar to ending the prohibition on alcohol a century ago: Fundamentally, whether adults use marijuana is a matter of privacy, and we should treat marijuana as a major economic opportunity and revenue source.

Create economic equity and justice through marijuana-driven opportunity

Beyond addressing criminal justice through marijuana legalization, we have to enact economic justice, too. Legalization by the states has shown the immense economic opportunity of a marijuana market, especially for small businesses. With that opportunity comes the chance to lift up communities held down for generations by unjust marijuana laws.