Senator Booker Introduces Bill To Legalize Marijuana

Aug 1, 2017

U.S. Senator Cory Booker

U.S. Senator Cory Booker is introducing legislation that would legalize marijuana at the federal level.

The New Jersey Democrat says the Marijuana Justice Act would reverse decades of a failed drug policy that's had a devastating impact on low-income Americans and minorities.

Booker says violent crime is down and revenue up in the eight states where pot is legal.

"It disturbs me right now that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is not moving as the states are, moving as public opinion is, but actually saying that we should be doubling down and enforcing federal marijuana laws even in states that have made marijuana legal."

Booker’s bill also would expunge the records of those convicted of federal marijuana crimes.

"These are charges that follow people for the rest of their lives, making it difficult for them to do things that we take for granted like applying for a taxi cab license, something that you can't get in many states even if your marijuana conviction was 10, 20, 30 years ago."

The legislation would provide for a judge's review of the sentences of offenders now in prison for federal marijuana crimes.

And Booker says it would create an investment fund in communities most affected by marijuana-related arrests of low-income residents and minorities.

“That could help with job training, re-entry services, expenses related to expungement and convictions, but also investing in things like public libraries, and community centers, and programs that are dedicated to youth.”

Booker doesn't have any co-sponsors for the measure but he's hoping for bipartisan support.