Marijuana Justice Act introduced in Congress

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The legislative piece seeks to strip marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act

In a move that could help significantly advance the status of marijuana in the U.S., several lawmakers introduced a bill yesterday that would once and for all delete marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act. It would also give states an incentive to end racially disparaging criminalization of marijuana consumers.

The Marijuana Justice Act of 2019 was introduced by Senator Cory Booker from New Jersey and Representatives Ro Khanna and Barbara Lee, both from California. Through the bill, in addition to removing marijuana from the CSA, federal marijuana use and possession records would be expunged and individuals currently serving federal sentences would be able to petition for a reduced sentence or early release.

The political director for NORML, Justin Strekal, said of the bill, “The Marijuana Justice Act is the most comprehensive piece of federal legislation ever introduced to end the failed policy of marijuana prohibition and to address the egregious harms that this policy has wrought on already marginalized communities.

“This robust legislation not only removes marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, but it also provides a path forward for the individuals and communities that have been most disproportionately impacted by our nation’s failed war on marijuana consumers.

“It is time for federal lawmakers to acknowledge this reality. It is time to stop ceding control of the marijuana market to untaxed criminal enterprises, and for lawmakers to amend federal law in a manner that comports with available science, public opinion, and the rapidly changing cultural status of cannabis.”

Booker stated of the Act, “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. 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.”