The movement to legalize marijuana nationally is pushing hard straight through until the end of the year. 2018 is expected to be a big year for state legalized marijuana with potentially Vermont and New Jersey both legalizing adult-use in the first quarter. The momentum is strong and senators like Cory Booker of New Jersey are working hard to strike at the heart of the national issue.
With more support for the Marijuana Justice Act coming on a regular basis, Cory Booker is intent on keeping people out of prison for minor marijuana possession and having their reputations destroyed for an arrest that makes little sense in the first place. Senator Ron Wyden has now joined the battle to end federal prohibition of cannabis next to Senator Booker.
U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, is cosponsoring a bill to decriminalize marijuana across the nation and penalize states with high arrest and incarceration rates for pot-related crimes.
The Marijuana Justice Act of 2017, first introduced in August by Sen. Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, would remove weed from the federal list of controlled substances.
The bill also would penalize states that haven’t legalized marijuana and have “disproportionate” rates of arrest and incarceration for marijuana-related offences by cutting federal funding in those states for new jails, prisons and staffing.
For the bill’s purposes, disproportionate rates of arrest and incarceration are defined as:
- “The percentage of minority individuals arrested for a marijuana related offense in a state is higher than the percentage of the non-minority individual population of the state, as determined by the most recent census data”
- “The percentage of low-income individuals arrested for a marijuana offense in a state is higher than the percentage of the population of the state that are not low-income individuals, as determined by the most recent census data”
- “The percentage of minority individuals incarcerated for a marijuana related offense in a state is higher than the percentage of the non-minority individual population of the state, as determined by the most recent census data”
Not only is the rescheduling of marijuana federally logical from the perspective of keeping otherwise young and innocent people out of prison, but it has the potential of being a large economic boost not having to pay to house inmates. Is the end of prohibition a given at this point? Is it simply a matter of time now?
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