Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) has introduced a bill to Congress that would be an uphill battle under any administration, not considering the current one. Booker’s bill would legalize marijuana on a federal level and work to undo the decades of harm and wasted funds spent on the war on drugs in the U.S.
“Our country’s drug laws are badly broken and need to be fixed,” Booker said in a statement, according to Buzzfeed. “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.”
The bill would also retroactively rescind charges against people for marijuana possession who are taking up space in jails across the country, even in states where use of the drug is now mostly legal.
“For decades, the failed War on Drugs has locked up millions of nonviolent drug offenders—especially for marijuana-related offenses—at an incredible cost of lost human potential, torn apart families and communities, and taxpayer dollars. The effects of the drug war have had a disproportionately devastating impact on Americans of color and the poor,” Booker wrote in a Facebook Live video description.
‘Today I’m introducing the Marijuana Justice Act, a bill that if passed will legalize marijuana at the federal level and go even further in an effort to remedy many of the failures of the War on Drugs,” he continued. “This is the right thing to do for public safety, and will help reduce our overflowing prison population.”
However, don’t celebrate just yet. The Marijuana Justice Act would have to make it through a Congress tat i majority-Republican on both sides and through the Trump White House, which currently has “Let’s bring back D.A.R.E.!” Attorney General Sessions on the roster.
Despite the long road ahead of it, the introduction of the bill signals a change in the public’s view of marijuana use and how the persecution of it affects society.
“It’s legislation like this, and leaders like Cory Booker, who are going to change the conversation where we need to be,” said Justin Strekal, political director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
As an added bonus, the bill would introduce programs to improve communities that have disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs.
Watch Sen. Booker’s Facebook Live video speaking on the bill in full below.