Sen. Cory Booker Gains Momentum and Support for the Marijuana Justice Act
WASHINGTON – The bill introduced by Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) that would legalize marijuana federally has garnered new support. According to the Hill, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) made an announcement Wednesday that she would be another co-sponsor of the bill. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) was the first senator to co-sponsor the bill. Both Booker and Gillibrand are rumored to be running for President in 2020.
Gillibrand agreed with Booker, saying in her statement that that the lives of millions of people have been “devastated” because of the country’s broken policies on marijuana, especially for those in low-income communities and communities of color. Booker also spoke of the war on drugs when he introduced the legislation last August, saying “Our country’s drug laws are badly broken and need to be fixed,” adding “They don’t make our communities any safer."
Sen. Booker’s bill, or the Marijuana Justice Act, would end the federal prohibition on pot by removing it from the Schedule I drug classification and also give incentives to states that automatically expunge past marijuana convictions. Also included in the legislation introduced last August is funding for employment training programs, education, community centers and libraries.
According to the ACLU, African-Americans are 4 times more likely to be arrested for weed than Caucasians. Gillibrand said that it is shameful that her son would be treated differently than another 14-year-old boy just because of skin color if he was caught with weed.
She also said that just one conviction for marijuana possession could ruin someone’s entire life, saying “Legalizing marijuana is a social justice issue and a moral issue that Congress needs to address, and I’m proud to work with Senator Booker on this legislation to help fix decades of injustice caused by our nation’s failed drug policies,” said Gillibrand.
Senator Booker said that marijuana legalization is just a matter of when, not if, adding that he is glad to have Sen. Gillibrand’s support.