New Jersey Senator Introduces Bill to Legalize Marijuana Nationwide

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WASHINGTON — New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker introduced a bill on Monday that would legalize marijuana at the federal level.

He said the bill, called the Marijuana Justice Act, will remedy many failures of the War on Drugs.

According to a news release from Booker’s office, the bill would remove marijuana from the controlled substances list.

The bill is retroactive and would apply to people serving time now for marijuana-related offenses.

“Our country’s drug laws are badly broken and need to be fixed,” Senator Booker said. “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.

The following is what the act will do:

Remove marijuana from the list of controlled substances, making it legal at the federal level;

o   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;

o   Automatically expunge federal marijuana use and possession crimes;

o   Allow an individual currently serving time in federal prison for marijuana use or possession crimes to petition a court for a resentencing;

o   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

View the full news release here.

In his Facebook Live video, Booker outlines parts of the bill. He also takes questions from viewers.

This is Booker’s Facebook post:

“For decades, the failed War on Drugs has locked up millions of nonviolent drug offenders-especially for marijuana-related offenses-at an incredible cost of lost human potential, torn apart families and communities, and taxpayer dollars. The effects of the drug war have had a disproportionately devastating impact on Americans of color and the poor.

Today I’m introducing the Marijuana Justice Act, a bill that if passed will legalize marijuana at the federal level and go even further in an effort to remedy many of the failures of the War on Drugs. This is the right thing to do for public safety, and will help reduce our overflowing prison population.”

View his full Facebook post here.

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