The Hill

Marijuana Legalization USA 2019: New Senate Bill Aims For Nationwide Adoption

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., for the second time proposed a bill that would legalize recreational use of marijuana nationwide. The legislation also intends to clear all marijuana possession charges from the criminal records of U.S. citizens. 

Booker introduced the “Marijuana Justice Act” on Thursday with Democratic California Reps. Barbara Lee and Ro Khanna. The senator first unveiled the bill in 2017 but failed in the upper chamber of Congress, Futurism reported Friday.

The move is part of the lawmakers’ efforts to end the war on drugs in the U.S., which already led to over-policing and incarceration of racial minorities for nonviolent crimes, Booker said. 

A report by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) highlighted that despite similar rates of drug use, black people are four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white people.

"The failed war on drugs has really been a war on people — disproportionately criminalizing poor people, people of color and people with mental illness," he said in a tweet Thursday. "I'm reintroducing the act to begin reversing our failed federal drug policies."

The Marijuana Justice Act aims to clear the records of people who were previously charged for marijuana possession and to free those who are still in prison. The bill would mainly allow those people to appeal for re-sentencing. 

"It's not enough to simply decriminalize marijuana. The end we seek is not just legalization, it's justice,” Booker said in a statement. “We must also repair the damage caused by reinvesting in those communities that have been most harmed by the war on drugs." 

Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris co-sponsored Booker's new bill. All three are said to be among the candidates for the U.S. presidential race in 2020.

Booker is also among the 11 confirmed candidates for next year’s presidential nomination. Since his entry in the federal government, the lawmaker from New Jersey has been advocating for social and racial equality.

He also proposed a “baby bond” program that would give every child in the U.S. a Treasury bond at birth. In this program, poorer kids are expected to receive a larger amount.

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