Booker releases discussion draft on ending federal cannabis prohibition

Booker releases discussion draft on ending federal cannabis prohibition

By Cyril Josh Barker

To date, the adult use of cannabis is legal in 18 states and 37 states have advanced laws to allow medical cannabis. New Jersey U.S. Sen. Cory Booker and other Democratic senators want to end the prohibition of cannabis nationally and end what they say is the unfair targeting and treatment of communities of color.

Last week, Booker, along with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, released a discussion draft of the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act. If passed, the act would remove cannabis from the federal list of controlled substances and allow states to implement their own cannabis laws.

The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act would prevent people from being arrested or barred from receiving essential services for using cannabis where it is legal. The proposal would also ensure state-compliant cannabis businesses will be able to access the essential financial services and will preserve state cannabis laws while providing a path for federal regulation.

“For decades, our federal government has waged a War on Drugs that has unfairly impacted low-income communities and communities of color,” said Booker. “While red and blue states across the country continue to legalize marijuana, the federal government continues to lag woefully behind. It is time for Congress to end the federal marijuana prohibition and reinvest in communities most impacted by the failed War on Drugs.”

The proposal goes a step beyond legalizing cannabis by expunging federal non-violent marijuana crimes and allowing individuals currently serving time in federal prison for non-violent marijuana crimes to petition a court for resentencing. The legislation also creates an “Opportunity Trust Fund” funded by federal cannabis tax revenue to reinvest in the communities most impacted by drug laws.

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