Democrats in the House have introduced the Marijuana Justice Act. The bill aims to end marijuana prohibition of and would provide “restorative justice” to communities negatively impacted by the War on Drugs.
Washington, D.C.- Democrats on in the House have introduced their version of the Marijuana Justice Act. If enacted, this bill would end marijuana prohibition and aim to create a more inclusive industry.
The new legislation has been introduced by Reps. Barbara Lee and Ro Khanna, both California Democrats. Overall, there are 12 co-sponsors of the bill with all of them being Democrats. The proposed legislation is a companion bill to Sen. Cory Booker’s (D-NJ) bill by the same name introduced in the Senate last year.
The Marijuana Justice Act would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substance Act list. It would also provide “restorative justice” to communities disproportionately impacted by marijuana arrests and create an “inclusive industry from the ground up,” Lee told reporters on a conference call.
Lee feels the bill is “a bold proposal to reverse decades of discriminatory drug enforcement and to bring federal marijuana policy in line with the wishes of the American people.”
The bill would create a $500 million community investment that would focus on job training for those looking to enter the marijuana industry from communities that have experienced an inordinate number of marijuana arrests and conviction. It would also expunge convictions related to the possession or use of marijuana.
Beyond helping communities, the bill would reduce federal spending on prison construction in states that have excessively arrested non-whites for low-level marijuana charges. The bill may pay for itself as the money saved from these states would be re-directed to the community fund.
“It’s the reverse of the 1994 crime bill,” Booker said on the call with reporters. “It creates incentives for states to change their marijuana laws.”
Currently, there are no Republican co-sponsors for the House bill. Although they may prove to be a difficult to get on board, a bill introduced by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (D-CA) to keep federal authorities out of state marijuana laws has bi-partisan support.
Booker may be already working on a plan to make the Marijuana Justice Act appealing to Republicans and their talking points.
“We’re going to get the federal government out of the states’ business,” Booker said.