When the 2020 election rolls around, the topic of legalizing marijuana at a federal level is bound to arise. Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker must see the writing on the wall as he has brought forth “The Marijuana Justice Act,” which he proposes would offer states financial incentives to lessen restrictions in some of their current marijuana laws.
The act would take marijuana off the list of banned controlled substances. Other Democratic hopefuls such as Sens. Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders are co-sponsoring the act.
“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. 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,” Booker explained as he brought forth the bill.
The bill would also allow marijuana offenses to be expunged from an individual’s record and allow them, as well, to petition for a shorter sentence, according to CNBC.
Booker helped pass a similar bill “First Step Act” in December 2018, which eliminated mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenders and even had the support of President Trump.
“Black people are 3.7 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than their white peers even though they use marijuana at similar rates,” Booker tweeted last December. “If we truly want to be a fair and just nation we need to correct for this disparate treatment of enforcement practices.”
While this is highly unlikely to pass the Senate, it doesn’t take away from the fact that legalizing marijuana has been a growing trend in recent years. There are currently 10 states that currently have legalized it at a state level.
Public opinion has shifted as well. According to the Pew Research Center, 62 percent of Americans are for the legalization of marijuana, which is due in large part to the perceived medical benefits.