The bill is focused on ending federal prohibition and centered around reparations for communities most affected due to the war on drugs.
The Marijuana Justice Act, introduced by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) on August 1st, would usher in a new era in marijuana legalization. Complete legalization on a federal level would not only save the country millions of dollars simply due to not incarcerating those in possession or those selling it, but it would also create the necessary pathway for it to be taxed to a point where billions of dollars of profit could be attained. The crux of this bill seems to center on the racial disparity found throughout the country in regards to incarceration, deportation, justification for police brutality and other marijuana-related legal harm that comes to low-income communities and communities of color.
“The question is no longer ‘should we legalize marijuana?’; it is ‘how do we legalize marijuana?’ We must do so in a way that recognizes that the people who suffered most under prohibition are the same people who should benefit most under legalization,” said Queen Adesuyi, policy associate at the Drug Policy Alliance.
The Marijuana Justice Act covers the following
- Remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, ending federal prohibition of marijuana
- Cut federal funding for state law enforcement and prison construction if a state disproportionately arrests and/or incarcerates low-income individuals and/or people of color for marijuana offenses
- Allow entities to sue states that disproportionately arrest and/or incarcerate low-income individuals and/or people of color for marijuana offenses
- Prevent deportations of individuals for marijuana offenses
- Provide for a process of expungement for marijuana offenses at the federal level
- Provide for a process of re-sentencing for marijuana offenses at the federal level
- Create a “Community Reinvestment Fund” of $500 million to invest in communities most impacted by the war on drugs, for programs such as job training, reentry, community centers, and more. Part of the funding will come from the aforementioned cuts to state law enforcement and prison construction.