New Jersey Senator Cory Booker’s new bill could revolutionize weed laws in the U.S. In particular, the bill goes beyond simply moving weed off the DEA’s Schedule I list. It also has provisions for punishing states that enforce anti-weed laws in discriminatory ways.
The Marijuana Justice Act of 2017
Booker’s bill is called “The Marijuana Justice Act of 2017.” He filed the bill today. If passed, it would change a number of important things related to the U.S.’s cannabis laws.
For starters, it calls for cannabis to be de-scheduled. Currently, weed is a Schedule I illegal drug. Removing it from that category would be a step toward making weed legal at the federal level. It would also immediately put a stop to the heavy criminalization of weed.
But Booker’s bill doesn’t stop there. In fact, it goes much further. The proposal would also make it so that federal funds would be withheld from states that have racially disparate arrest and incarceration rates. Instead, that money would be used to fund libraries and job training programs.
Numerous studies have shown that weed prohibition laws are consistently used to target and criminalize people of color at higher rates than white people. For example, a study published on July 11 found that people of color in New York City continue to be arrested at rates far higher than their white counterparts even though white folks used weed at slightly higher rates.
Similarly, Booker’s bill would require that all existing weed-related arrests be expunged. And finally, it would make it possible for people who have faced discriminatory cannabis arrests to sue states.
Final Hit: Cory Booker’s New Bill Could Revolutionize Weed Laws In The U.S.
The bill is already being met with enthusiasm by cannabis advocates throughout the country. Many are calling it one of the most sweeping and thorough weed bills to ever be brought before lawmakers.
“This is the single most far-reaching marijuana bill that’s ever been filed in either chamber of Congress,” said Tom Angell, founder and chairman of Marijuana Majority. “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.”
Last year, the DEA refused to reclassify cannabis. And earlier this year, a group of lawmakers introduced a set of proposals dubbed the “Path to Marijuana.” Booker’s bill is the newest proposal to focus on changing the U.S.’s weed laws.