In August of last year Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced a bill (S.1689), the Marijuana Justice Act of 2017, to legalize marijuana on the federal level. According to a press release, the bill would:
- Remove marijuana from the list of controlled substances, making it legal at the federal level;
- Incentivize states through federal funds to change their marijuana laws if marijuana in the state is illegal and the state disproportionately arrests or incarcerates low-income individuals and people of color for marijuana-related offenses;
- Automatically expunge federal marijuana use and possession crimes;
- Allow an individual currently serving time in federal prison for marijuana use or possession crimes to petition a court for a resentencing.
The bill was cosponsored by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) in 2017 and Senators Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) and Bernard Sanders (I-VT) in 2018. The bill is languishing in the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.
A House version of the Marijuana Justice Act (H.R.4815) was introduced on January 17, 2018, by Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA). Now cosponsored by twenty-eight House Democrats, the bill has been referred to multiple House committees and subcommittees.
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Last month, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) promised to introduce on April 20—National Weed Day— a bill to decriminalize marijuana on the federal level. He hasn’t actually introduced it yet, and his office has no answer as to the questions of if and when the bill will actually be introduced.
What is different about Schumer’s bill is his appeal to federalism. According to a press release, the bill would “remove marijuana from the list of…