Are the Feds Going to Legalize It? Marijuana Justice Act Introduced in Senate

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on August 01, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

For years we've been noting state after state decriminalizing and legalizing marijuana, from cannabinoids for medical use only to recreational use, all with one big caveat: marijuana remains an illegal Schedule I narcotic under the federal Controlled Substances Act. This had a huge impact on state legalization efforts, from cultivation and transportation across state lines to canna-businesses getting bank accounts.

But that might all be changing. New Jersey Senator Cory Booker today introduced the Marijuana Justice Act of 2017, which would remove weed from the schedule of controlled substances and do a whole lot more. What else is in the bill? See for yourself below.

Marijuana Injustice

The bill would also allow for the import and export of marijuana, removing it from several other pieces of drug control legislation. Most notably, the Marijuana Justice Act would punish states that still punish marijuana possession and sale. The Act would:

  • Deny federal funding for state law enforcement and prisons if a state "has a disproportionate arrest rate or a disproportionate incarceration rate for marijuana offenses";
  • Allow for expungement of federal marijuana-related convictions;
  • Allow for resentencing hearings for individuals incarcerated for federal marijuana-related offenses;
  • Allow entities to sue states with a "disproportionate arrest rate or a disproportionate incarceration rate"; and
  • Establish a "Community Reinvestment Fund" of $500 million to "reinvest in communities most affected by the war on drugs, which shall include providing grants to impacted communities."

"These marijuana arrests are targeting poor and minority communities, [and] targeting our veterans," Booker said, introducing the legislation on Facebook. "We see the injustice of it all. I have seen young teenagers getting arrested, saddled with criminal convictions for the rest of their lives."

Tides Turning?

The legislation has a long way to go before being enacted, and may face stiff opposition from the country's top prosecutor. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has repeatedly called for increased federal prosecution of marijuana crimes and stiffer penalties for drug offenses. But it would appear that the general public agrees with Booker. Forbes cited a Quinnipiac University poll from April that found 94 of Americans are in favor of allowing the use of medical marijuana, while 60 percent support full marijuana legalization.

You can see the full Marijuana Justice Act below:

Marijuana Justice Act of 2017 by FindLaw on Scribd

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