January 18th, Representative Barbara Lee of California along with over a dozen original co-sponsors have introduced the Marijuana Justice Act into the House of Representatives. This marks the first time that companion legislation has been introduced in both chambers of Congress to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).
This legislation not only removes cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, it also provides a path forward for the individuals and communities that have been most disproportionately targeted by our nation’s failed war on cannabis users. Throughout the country African Americans are arrested for violating cannabis possession laws at nearly four times the rates of whites, yet both ethnicities consume marijuana at roughly the same rates.
“A State Of War Only Serves As An Excuse For Domestic Tyranny”.
The Marijuana Justice Act of 2017 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 it disproportionately arrests or incarcerates minority and poor people for marijuana-related offenses;
•Automatically expunge federal marijuana use and possession crimes;
•Allow individuals currently serving time in federal prison to petition a court for a resentencing;
•Create a community reinvestment fund to invest in communities most impacted by the failed War on Drugs and allows the money to go towards the following programs:
◦Expenses related to the expungement of convictions;
◦Programs and opportunities dedicated to youth; and
◦Health education programs.
Click here to send a message to your lawmakers in support of The Marijuana Justice Act now
The ongoing enforcement of cannabis prohibition financially burdens taxpayers, encroaches upon civil liberties, engenders disrespect for the law, impedes legitimate scientific research into the plant’s medicinal properties, and disproportionately impacts communities of color. Finally, federal lawmakers are beginning to acknowledge this as reality.
“Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.
Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote”
The bill would not declare cannabis legal in all 50 states. It would simply remove federal illegality and allow each state to regulate cannabis in its own way. States with criminal penalties for cannabis would keep those laws, at least until voters or legislators decided to change them. States with legal regulated cannabis systems would be allowed to continue without the threat of federal interference.
“This legislation will end this destructive war on drugs,” Rep. Lee said this afternoon. “Here on the first day, we have 12 co-signers in the House. Which is really remarkable.”
“This bill is really an essential step in correcting the injustices of the war on drugs,” she added.
“We know who’s most likely to suffer from a revival of the war on drugs,” she said, referring to disadvantaged neighborhoods and people of color. “The Trump administration has made a major miscalculation,” she said, in attempting to revive the failed drug policies of the 1980s.
“But the economic impact is so much broader than just that $40 billion industry,” Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) said. “We’re giving people a real second chance by getting rid of that criminal past that is stifling their future.”