Presidential hopeful Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) will reintroduce legislation Thursday that could end the federal prohibition on cannabis.
Booker originally introduced the Marijuana Justice Act in August 2017. According to a release from Sen. Booker’s team, the bill “seeks to reverse decades of failed drug policy that has disproportionately impacted low-income communities and communities of color.”
The legislation would remove marijuana and tetrahydrocannabinols—or THC—from the schedule of controlled substances, effectively making it legal at the federal level. It would also automatically expunge the convictions of anyone who has served federal time for marijuana offenses. This would be retroactive, and it would also apply to those currently serving time as well.
Another goal of the bill is to reinvest in the communities that have experienced the most negative impacts of the “War on Drugs.”
The bill is cosponsored in the Senate by Ron Wyden (D-OR), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Michael Bennet (D-CO).
“The War on Drugs has not been a war on drugs, it’s been a war on people, and disproportionately people of color and low-income individuals,” Booker said in the release. “The Marijuana Justice Act seeks to reverse decades of this unfair, unjust, and failed policy by removing marijuana from the list of controlled substances and making it legal at the federal level.
“But it’s not enough to simply decriminalize marijuana. We must also repair the damage caused by reinvesting in those communities that have been most harmed by the War on Drugs. And we must expunge the records of those who have served their time. The end we seek is not just legalization, it’s justice.”
Rep. Lee said in the release: “Communities of color and low-income communities have been devastated by the War on Drugs. As Co-Chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, I’m proud to sponsor legislation that would legalize marijuana at the federal level, address the disproportionate impact of prohibition on people of color by expunging criminal convictions, and promote equitable participation in the legal marijuana industry by investing in the communities hardest hit by the failed War on Drugs.”
Booker, Lee and Khanna will announce the bill live on Facebook at 11:40 a.m. EST.