New Jersey Senator and 2020 presidential candidate, Cory Booker, announced Thursday plans to re-introduce legislation that would reschedule cannabis and legalize it at the federal level. The Marijuana Justice Act, as the bill’s known, would also expunge those charged with low-level marijuana crimes related to cannabis use and possession while also providing resources for re-entry and job training programs.
Booker’s bill also highlights just how pivotal cannabis might be in the 2020 election as his name’s not the only presidential hopeful on the legislation. Sens. Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, Kirsten Gillibrand, Michael Bennet and Elizabeth Warren have all signed onto the bill. Each of the Senators have either announced presidential runs, or are expected to in the near future.
“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 a statement. “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.”
Let’s legalize marijuana at the federal level, push states to do the same, AND help those who have suffered due to its prohibition.
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) February 28, 2019
The bill will also be introduced in the House by Reps. Barbara Lee and Ro Khanna, both well-known advocates for cannabis legalization. Booker initially introduced the Marijuana Justice Act back in 2017, but the legislation never made it out of the Senate.
“But it’s not enough to simply decriminalize marijuana,” Booker said. “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.”