New Jersey Senator Cory Booker remains at the forefront of cannabis legalization, not only in the state of New Jersey but on a federal level.
Back in August, Booker introduced a progressive new policy to federal lawmakers called the Marijuana Justice Act, which would effectively remove cannabis from the controlled substances list, amongst a plethora of other things.
This week, his endeavor, once again, picked up steam as the New Jersey senator received the support of U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, who became the first U.S. Senator to officially co-sponsor the marijuana legalization bill.
A Dynamic Duo: Cory Booker Finds Co-Sponsor For Marijuana Legalization Bill
On Monday, the senators took to Facebook Live to express their excitement over the new team-up. Booker noted that their conjoined effort is necessary to stop the broken prohibition system the U.S. currently employs.
“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.”
Wyden echoed Booker’s sentiments and noted that with the Trump administration in place, it’s more important than ever to fight for change.
“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 It’s more important now than ever to update outdated policies, right the wrongs against communities of color, and continue our work to lift up the voices of the many Americans who are speaking out in favor of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.”
Final Hit: Cory Booker Finds Co-Sponsor For Marijuana Legalization Bill
Booker, who took office back in 2013 after serving as the mayor of Newark from 2006-13, has been an outspoken critic of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Trump administration’s attempts to double down on cannabis prohibition, despite the progress made over the past several years.
To combat Sessions, Booker proposed the aforementioned Marijuana Justice Act, which, according to his website, will do as follows:
· 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 also noted that he believes the federal government is behind the eight ball when it comes to marijuana policy and should reform policy to mirror that of incumbent state laws in pot-friendly regions. He pointed to the rescheduling of cannabis as a solid step in the right direction.
“Descheduling marijuana and applying that change retroactively to people currently serving time for marijuana offenses is a necessary step in correcting this unjust system,” Booker said. “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.”