Several House Democrats have introduced legislation that would federally legalize marijuana and expunge federal convictions for marijuana-related crimes associated with use and possession.
12 House Democrats sponsor the bill, which is a companion to Sen. Cory Booker’s Marijuana Justice Act, that was introduced in the Senate in 2017, Business Insider reports.
Along with taking marijuana off the Controlled Substances Act, the bill goes further to provide “restorative justice” to areas unfairly affected by marijuana arrests and convictions by creating an “inclusive industry from the ground up,” according to Representative Lee.
Lee says the legislation is “a bold proposal to reverse decades of discriminatory drug enforcement and to bring federal marijuana policy in line with the wishes of the American people.”
Passage of the bill would create a $500 million community reinvestment fund focusing on job training for the industry. Communities disproportionately affected would also be a focal point, as well as expunging convictions regarding use and/or possession.
Federal funding for law enforcement and prison construction in states disproportionately affected by arrests and convictions would be cut, especially in low-income areas and those with concentrated groups of minorities. The funds from the cuts would go into the reinvestment programs.
Booker said, “It’s the reverse of the 1994 crime bill. It creates incentives for states to change their marijuana laws.”
Recreational marijuana is legal in eight states and 29 states have some form of legal medical marijuana. A recent Gallup poll indicates that marijuana legalization is a bipartisan issue: 64% of Americans, including 51% of Republicans, support it.
Booker said, “We’re going to get the federal government out of the states’ business.”