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Ben & Jerry's commemorates 4/20 with criminal justice reform campaign, free ice cream

Ice cream company Ben & Jerry's commemorated 4/20, a popular day in cannabis culture, with free ice cream and a criminal justice reform campaign calling on Congress to expunge prior marijuana convictions.

Ben & Jerry's released a petition on Friday to have Congress act on marijuana convictions and provide pardons or amnesty to anyone whose only crime was possession of cannabis.

"Want to feel really really good this 4/20? Then let's make sure that legalization benefits all of us," Ben & Jerry's wrote. "That'll turn 4/20 into a day that we all can celebrate."

The petition had nearly 21,900 signatures as of Saturday afternoon.

The company celebrated that marijuana has been legalized in 33 states, but wrote that black people are disproportionally punished for possession, despite cannabis being used at similar rates among white and black demographics.

"And even if you're not in a state that legalized pot, there's a still a pretty good chance that the cops won't hassle you as you spend 4/20 doing your thing," the company wrote.

"If you're a white person. Sorry to bring you down, but that's the harsh reality. If you love pot AND you're white, everything is totally awesome these days," the statement continued.

There were 8 million arrests for pot between 2001 and 2010. During that period, a black person was 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for possession than a white person, according to data from the American Civil Liberties Union.

"Since then, in states that have legalized cannabis, arrests, as you'd expect, have gone done. Unfortunately, legalization hasn't done anything to change the racial disparities," Ben & Jerry's wrote.

"We're calling on Congress to expunge prior marijuana convictions and provide pardons/amnesty to anyone whose only crime was possession of cannabis. Cities like San Francisco and Seattle are already doing it. It's time to take this national," the company added. "Want to feel really really good this 4/20? Then let's make sure that legalization benefits all of us. That'll turn 4/20 into a day that we all can celebrate."

The company also partnered with Caliva, a dispensery in San Jose, Calif., to give out free pint-sized containers of its famous "Half Baked" ice cream.

Caliva said it will donate 4.20 percent of all sales from April 20 to the nonprofit Code for America and its Clear My Record program, which works to expunge eligible cannabis records.

Ben & Jerry's has advocated for progressive policies in the past, and the founders of the Vermont-based company endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

The company backed the Green New Deal earlier this week, saying "we have to act now" to prevent climate change, which it described as an "unprecedented crisis."

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