Sen. Cory Booker Proposes the Marijuana Justice Act

Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Sen. Cory Booker is currently proposing an off-chance bill to encourage all states in the U.S. to legalize marijuana.

Voters around the nation have legalized differing forms of marijuana, however; Congress has been consistently silent on the issue, which is why Booker’s recent proposal is peaking the interests of so many people. The Democrat’s legislation could possibly end the federal prohibition on marijuana and motivate states to do so as well.

The proposal, named the Marijuana Justice Act, would remove marijuana from the official federal list of Schedule I narcotics, such as heroin, cocaine, and peyote. It would also decrease federal funding from states with superfluous marijuana arrest rates for minority and poor citizens.

Rolling Stone reports that Booker stated on his Facebook Live, “You see these marijuana arrests happening so much in our country, targeting certain communities – poor communities, minority communities – targeting people with an illness.”

Currently, eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes. Booker claims that the national is seeing positive results from local policies that are exceeding the federal stillness on the issue.

Criminal justice organizations and marijuana supporters are commending the new proposal because they believe that it changes the conversation on marijuana use.

TIME reports that Tom Angell, head of the pro-legalization Marijuana Majority, said in a statement “This is the single most far-reaching marijuana bill that’s ever been filed in either chamber of Congress.”

“More than just getting the federal government out of the way so that states can legalize without DEA harassment, this new proposal goes even further by actually punishing states that have bad marijuana laws.”

Republicans presently control Congress and many members have persistently opposed the legalization of marijuana. Moreover, President Trump selected Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has continuously made it clear that he plans to increase punishment for marijuana possession and use.

Sessions issued a directive two weeks ago stating that he wanted to increase asset forfeiture, which gives the government the right to seize money and property from those who are accused of a crime without formally charging them.

Asset forfeiture has historically been used to disturb drug cartels. Sessions claims that he would use this method “especially for drug traffickers.”

Booker’s legalization bill still serves as a hopeful indication for marijuana advocates. It reveals the country’s altering views on the substance. CBS News conducted a poll in April and found that 61 percent of Americans believe that marijuana should be legal, 71 percent believe that the federal government shouldn’t interfere with the states who have already legalized the drug, and 88 percent support marijuana’s medical use.

 – Contributed by Devyn Rorie

WHUR Contributor


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