Just under two weeks ago Sen. Corey Booker of NJ introduced the Marijuana Justice Act. The new bill has been characterized as a bold move because unlike other measures that seek to legalize marijuana Sen. Booker pushed the measure just a bit further by attempting to address the disproportionate number of minorities who are either incarcerated or facing incarceration as a result of current federal laws.
Sen. Booker’s bill in its current state would:
- Remove marijuana from the federal list of Schedule I narcotics
- Punish states that disproportionately imprison minorities for marijuana offenses by cutting off federal dollars supplied by the Department of Justice
- Retroactively expunge previous federal marijuana use and possession crimes from people’s records while allowing those currently imprisoned for marijuana-related offenses to apply for resentencing.
“Our goal with the Marijuana Justice Act is restorative justice—finding ways to take communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the failed War on Drugs and helping them to heal, helping them to recover from what has been an unjust application of the law. The bill doesn’t just end the federal prohibition on marijuana; it goes much further to help undo a lot of the damage done by a drug war gone horribly wrong.” Sen. Booker via his Facebook post.
Although the legalization of Marijuana has gained in popularity across the country and has some bi-partisan support in Congress it is still a long shot to pass into law. As a politico article cites opposition within his own state by Gov. Chris Christie will make his efforts challenging.
Add to that at the national level Sen. Booker faces opposition from the President and his administration as they act to make the laws around marijuana more stringently enforced. As cited by Fortune Sen. Booker has a substantial opposition to his plan, but nevertheless with the support of the people Sen. Booker presses on.