The Marijuana Justice Act of 2017

There’s big news on the cannabis front at the federal level, and it could result in an end to prohibition. New Jersey Senator Cory Booker introduced the “Marijuana Justice Act of 2017” yesterday, and it seeks to “amend the Controlled Substances Act to provide for a new rule regarding the application of the Act to marijuana, and for other purposes.”

“I believe the federal government should get out of the illegal marijuana business,” Booker said. “You see what’s happening around this country right now. Eight states and the District of Columbia have moved to legalize marijuana. And these states are seeing decreases in violent crime in their states. They’re seeing increases in revenue to their states. They’re seeing their police forces being able to focus on serious crime. They’re seeing positive things come out of that experience.”

According to a press release from the Drug Policy Alliance, Booker’s bill would:

  • Remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, ending federal prohibition of marijuana
  • Cut federal funding for state law enforcement and prison construction if a state disproportionately arrests and/or incarcerates low-income individuals and/or people of color for marijuana offenses
  • Allow entities to sue states that disproportionately arrest and/or incarcerate low-income individuals and/or people of color for marijuana offenses
  • Prevent deportations of individuals for marijuana offenses
  • Provide for a process of expungement for marijuana offenses at the federal level
  • Provide for a process of resentencing for marijuana offenses at the federal level
  • Create a “Community Reinvestment Fund” of $500 million to invest in communities most impacted by the war on drugs, for programs such as job training, reentry, community centers, and more. Part of the funding will come from the aforementioned cuts to state law enforcement and prison construction.

This could change everything for the cannabis industry, and for people who enjoy cannabis. It would not only legalize the herb and its by-products in every state, but it would also go a long way to providing reparations for people who have suffered under draconian drug laws.

Thank you, Senator Booker, for making a giant step in the right direction for the reform of cannabis laws. We’ll be watching as your bill moves through the Senate.