Cory Booker introduces bill to legalize marijuana nationwide

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) questions witnesses during a committee hearing about Libya in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill April 25, 2017 in Washington, DC. Senators heard testimony from country specialists about the thousands of small and large factions that splinter politics and security today in Libya. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) introduced a bill Thursday to legalize marijuana across the country.

The 2020 presidential hopeful has made criminal justice reform and social justice issues central to his campaign and is framing the marijuana legalization bill as such.

“The War on Drugs has not been a war on drugs, it’s been a war on people, and disproportionately people of color and low-income individuals,” Booker said in a press release announcing the legislation. “The Marijuana Justice Act seeks to reverse decades of this unfair, unjust, and failed policy by removing marijuana from the list of controlled substances and making it legal at the federal level.”

A House version of the bill was introduced by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), who is co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus.

The bill, known as the Marijuana Justice Act, would remove marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances, where it is currently a Schedule I drug in the same class with heroin and LSD.

It would also expunge previous marijuana-related federal convictions.

Additionally, the bill calls for the establishment of a fund to invest in communities affected by mass incarceration due to marijuana-related arrests.

Booker introduced a similar version of the same bill in 2017, but the legislation was never taken up for a vote.

Several of Booker’s most prominent challengers for the Democratic presidential nomination from the Senate are co-sponsors on the bill, including Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Ten states as well as Washington, D.C., have already legalized the recreational use of marijuana, with many more states legalizing its medicinal use.

Booker’s bill would also incentivize states to loosen their marijuana laws by using federal funds. Reports Thehill