Presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand rolled out her plan to legalize pot and expunge all records for non-violent marijuana convictions, she announced on Wednesday.
Gillibrand's plan focuses on rehabilitating "communities disproportionately harmed by marijuana laws," predominantly African-American and Hispanic, she said in a post on Medium, by decriminalizing the use of the drug and funneling tax revenue from non-prescription marijuana products into support programs for formerly incarcerated individuals jailed for marijuana-related charges.
Data showed that blacks were 8.1 times more likely to be arrested and Hispanics five times more likely to be arrested in 2017 than their white counterparts, according to the Data Collaborative for Justice at John Jay College.
“These findings and the data behind them provide an empirical foundation for important policy conversations underway in New York State about decriminalization and legalization of marijuana, such as how to reduce racial differences in arrest rates,” the report said.
Senator Gillibrand, D-N.Y., hopes to "lift up communities held down for generations by unjust marijuana laws," and "give small businesses in underserved communities access to capital and technical assistance through marijuana-specific programs," she said.
Her plan also includes expanding research for medical marijuana use to combat the opioid addiction epidemic and to include coverage for medical marijuana in all private health insurance plans, as well as federal programs such as the VA, Medicare, and Medicaid.