Booker Introduces Marijuana Justice Act

Often people who are for cannabis prohibition overlook the social justice aspects of the federal prohibition of cannabis.  My hope is that even if you are against the use of cannabis that these facts that Senator Corey Booker (D) NJ points out would give you a framework to consider the cannabis issue in a different light.  Senator Booker and his bill are focused on the social justice aspects of the war on cannabis.  The fact of the matter is the most dangerous thing associated with cannabis is getting caught with the plant.  This becomes even more dangerous when you are black, brown or poor.  It is hard to believe in 2017 that there are men and women in prison for possession and use of cannabis. America incarcerates too many of its citizens for offenses that are “less illegal’ than what two of our last three presidents have admitted to doing.  Yes, both President George Bush and President Obama have both admitted to using cocaine and cannabis.  My point is the criminal justice system is not being applied equally in our communities.  Marijuana charges stay with people for life!  That is insane.  A twenty-year-old who is arrested and convicted of possessing a small amount of marijuana pay for that innocuous “crime” their entire life.  Employment, business licenses, government loans, etc are all hindered or made impossible due to marijuana convictions.  To make this even more unjust these people who are suffering the legal consequences of the marijuana use or possession are doing something that is LEGAL in many states.  If that isn’t injustice then I don’t know what is.  My hope is that you watch the video of Senator Booker that I posted and that it would spur some thinking about this issue through a different paradigm.

It is hard to believe in 2017 that there are men and women in prison for possession and use of cannabis. America incarcerates too many of its citizens for offenses that are “less illegal’ than what two of our last three presidents have admitted to doing.  Yes, both President George Bush and President Obama have both admitted to using cocaine and cannabis.  My point is the criminal justice system is not being applied equally in our communities.  Marijuana charges stay with people for life!  That is insane.  A twenty-year-old who is arrested and convicted of possessing a small amount of marijuana pay for that innocuous “crime” their entire life.  Employment, business licenses, government loans, etc are all hindered or made impossible due to marijuana convictions.  To make this even more unjust these people who are suffering the legal consequences of the marijuana use or possession are doing something that is LEGAL in many states.  If that isn’t injustice then I don’t know what is.  My hope is that you watch the video of Senator Booker that I posted and that it would spur some thinking about this issue through a different paradigm.

I am not specifically mentioning medical marijuana because the overwhelming amount of Americans are in favor of MMJ.  However, I would like to share  a new study done by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and their conclusion that cannabis has numerous medical applications (duh.)

In summary, the Marijuana Justice Act does 4 major things:

  1.  Deschedules cannabis which would eliminate the federal prohibition on the plant
  2.  Retroactively expunges the conviction of people with marijuana offenses (sorry I don’t have any more details)
  3. Incentives for states to change marijuana laws
  4. Creates a community investment fund to help mitigate some of the damage caused by cannabis prohibition and the inequitable application of the law.

There is no doubt that cannabis prohibition will end in the United Staes.  It is a matter of when not if.

End Federal Marijuana Prohibition

We have a chance to finally rid ourselves of the Federal Prohibition of marijuana. Representatives Tom Garrett (R-VA) and Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) have introduced bipartisan legislation, HR 1227, to exclude marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, thus leaving states the authority to regulate the plant how best they see fit.  You can read the bill in its entirety here.

The “Ending Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017” eliminates federal criminal penalties for possessing and growing the plant. This legislation gives states the power and flexibility to establish their own marijuana policies free from federal interference.

Representative Garrett says that marijuana prohibition disproportionately impacts those residing in jurisdictions of lower socioeconomic status, and believes that state governments are plenty capable of setting their own marijuana policies.“Virginia is more than capable of handling its own marijuana policy, as are states such as Colorado or California,” he said in a prepared statement.
The intent of the “Ending Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017 is consistent with the view of most voters. According to recent polling (items 63, 64 and 65) by Quinnipiac University, 59 percent of Americans support full marijuana legalization and 71 percent believe that states, not the federal government, should set marijuana policy. 
 
With the recent confirmation of militant marijuana prohibitionist Jeff Sessions to the position of US Attorney General, and with comments from the Trump administration warning of a coming federal crackdown in adult use states, passage of this Act is necessary to ensure that medical marijuana patients and others are protected from undue federal interference.
Please write or call your representative.  NORML has a pre-written letter that you can send here.
Thanks to NORML for all of the support they provide for ending marijuana prohibition in the land of the free.