Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) has introduced landmark legislation that would remove Marijuana from the list of federally controlled substances.
Video of Booker unveiling the bill:
According to Sen. Booker’s office, 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:
o Job training;
o Reentry services;
o Expenses related to the expungement of convictions;
o Public libraries;
o Community centers;
o Programs and opportunities dedicated to youth; and
o Health education programs.
Booker said, “Our country’s drug laws are badly broken and need to be fixed. They don’t make our communities any safer – instead they divert critical resources from fighting violent crimes, tear families apart, unfairly impact low-income communities and communities of color, and waste billions in taxpayer dollars each year. Descheduling marijuana and applying that change retroactively to people currently serving time for marijuana offenses is a necessary step in correcting this unjust system. States have so far led the way in reforming our criminal justice system and it’s about time the federal government catches up and begins to assert leadership.”
Sen. Booker framed the issue as a matter of criminal justice reform and unequal application of the law to harm poor and minority communities. Booker said that an African-American person is arrested four times more often for using drugs than white people.
The New Jersey Senator outlined the devastating impact that marijuana convictions have on individuals, families, and communities.
Booker has the right message. The war on drugs is a criminal justice and economic issue. This about discrimination, and the application of a law that discriminates on the basis of race and economic class.
Cory Booker sounds a lot like a 2020 presidential candidate in the video above, but the difference between he and Trump is that he is looking to end injustice, not encourage it. Booker is trying to lead America into the future, instead of reviving a long gone past.
The Democratic Party is continuing to move left, and on this issue, Sen. Booker is leading the charge.