Today, Senator Cory Booker introduced the Marijuana Justice Act to officially remove marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances. If passed, the bill would make marijuana legal at the federal level and, according to Booker, incentivize states to change marijuana laws that have disproportionately and negatively impacted communities of color.
Last year, after recreational marijuana was legalized in Colorado, a study showed that black and Latino youths under the age of 21 – the legal age to consume marijuana – were targeted for arrest at much higher rates than their white counterparts, reported NPR.
Another major part of the Marijuana Justice Act is that the bill would be applied retroactively and would impact those already in jails and prisons for marijuana charges.
“Our country’s drug laws are badly broken and need to be fixed,” Sen. Booker said in a statement to the press. “They don’t make our communities any safer – instead they divert critical resources from fighting violent crimes, tear families apart, unfairly impact low-income communities and communities of color, and waste billions in taxpayer dollars each year. Descheduling marijuana and applying that change retroactively to people currently serving time for marijuana offenses is a necessary step in correcting this unjust system. States have so far led the way in reforming our criminal justice system and it’s about time the federal government catches up and begins to assert leadership.”