Beto O\u2019Rourke has called upon the U.S. federal government to provide \u201cDrug War Justice Grants\u201d to people formerly jailed for nonviolent marijuana offenses.\r\n\r\nThe former Texas congressman is bidding to get his campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential candidacy back on track after losing ground to rivals. He is a long-term marijuana legalization advocate: in 2011 he co-wrote a book arguing for it, arguing it would be crucial to reducing violence in Mexico.\r\n\r\nSome credit this with launching his political career. He ousted Democratic Rep. Silvestre Reyes in a 2012 primary by challenging Reyes\u2019 opposition to marijuana legalization.\r\n\r\nNow he is doubling down on this stance. He is not only calling it to be legalized, taxed and regulated, he also wants to see people who were formerly incarcerated compensated for their time behind bars.\r\n\r\nO\u2019Rourke has framed the issue as a matter of racial injustice. \u201cThe criminalization of marijuana has disproportionately impacted communities of color \u2013 time away from family, tarnished records, and economic opportunities lost,\u201d he said.\r\n\r\nHe is calling for a federal tax on the marijuana industry, and he wants to see revenue channelled into a monthly stipend dished out to those formerly incarcerated for nonviolent marijuana offenses in state and federal prison for a period based on time served. The grants would be funded completely by the tax on the marijuana industry.\r\n\r\nThis tax would also be used to fund treatment programs for \u201csubstance use\u201d, support for those incarcerated for marijuana possession and to invest in communities disproportionately impacted by marijuana arrests.\r\n\r\nIt would also be used to help these previously incarcerated individuals enter the legal marijuana industry, via training, technical assistance, and interest-free loans.\r\n\r\nHis calls follow in the footsteps of fellow White House hopeful Kamala Harris, who announced last week that she aims to provide government subsidies to \u201csocially and economically disadvantaged individuals\u201d who wish to start their own marijuana businesses.\r\n\r\nHarris has now slipped down to fifth in the betting to become the Democratic nominee for presidency, behind Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Andrew Yang. O\u2019Rourke is some way down the list as a 50\/1 outsider.\r\n\r\nWarren and Sanders are among the co-sponsors of a Senate proposal that would make marijuana legal, expunge criminal records and create a reinvestment fund to aid communities hurt by the war on drugs.