December 20, 2017
Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for The Humane Society of the United States
Senator Cory Booker is blazing the trail for the legalization of marijuana at the federal level. In August, the New Jersey Senator introduced the Marijuana Justice Act to legalize that cut federal funding for states showing disproportionate rates of arrest and incarceration for low-income individuals and people of color. It even set a precedent of expunging federal marijuana use and possession crimes as reported by Blavity.
While Booker has been doing good on his own, on Monday he received a huge boost of support when U.S. Senator Ron Wyden became the first U.S senator to cosponsor the bill.
Senator Wyden even tweeted about how excited he was to be a part of this effort.
I’m excited to sign on as the first co-sponsor of @SenBooker‘s Marijuana Justice Act. Join us at 6:30p.m. EST tonight on Facebook Live. We’ll be answering your questions about the bill. https://t.co/wah0kgd95W
— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) December 18, 2017
Shortly thereafter the pair went Facebook live together to announce the momentous occasion and share some the details about why this bill is so important.
“Jeff Sessions and the Trump administration are still trying to fight a 1980s drug war that is socially unjust, economically backward and against the will of the American people,” Wyden said. “I’m proud to join forces with Senator Booker to fight this administration’s attempts to shift our country into reverse when it comes to federal marijuana policy. It’s more important now than ever to update outdated policies, right the wrongs against communities of color, and continue our work to lift up the voices of the many Americans who are speaking out in favor of legalization.”
“I’m thrilled that my colleague, Senator Wyden, has joined me on this groundbreaking bill,” Senator Booker said.“It’s long past due that we fix our nation’s deeply broken drug laws, which disproportionately impact low-income communities and communities of color. This is more than a bill – it’s about ensuring equal justice for all, and I won’t stop fighting until our criminal justice system is reformed.”
So what does the bill do?
According to Senator Booker’s website, the Marijuana Justice Act seeks to reverse these troubling trends and fix our broken marijuana laws.
Specifically, the Marijuana Justice Act will:
- Remove marijuana from the list of controlled substances, making it legal at the federal level;
- Incentivize states through federal funds to change their marijuana laws if marijuana in the state is illegal and the state disproportionately arrests or incarcerates low-income individuals and people of color for marijuana-related offenses;
- Automatically expunge federal marijuana use and possession crimes;
- Allow an individual currently serving time in federal prison for marijuana use or possession crimes to petition a court for a resentencing;
- Create a community reinvestment fund to reinvest in communities most impacted by the failed War on Drugs and allow those funds to be invested in the following programs:
- Job training;
- Reentry services;
- Expenses related to the expungement of convictions;
- Public libraries;
- Community centers;
- Programs and opportunities dedicated to youth; and
- Health education programs.
Watch the full video below.
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