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Cory Booker introduces bill to legalize marijuana nationwide

Cory Booker introduces bill to legalize marijuana nationwide
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Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerCongress must act to correct flaws in the First Step Act Democrats introduce resolution apologizing to LGBT community for government discrimination Zombie Tax punishes farmers to fill DC coffers MORE (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.

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“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 KhannaRohit (Ro) KhannaPublic option fades with little outcry from progressives Democrats shift tone on unemployment benefits Khanna outlines how progressives will push in climate infrastructure proposal MORE (D-Calif.) and Rep. Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeOvernight Defense: House votes to repeal 2002 Iraq war powers | Pentagon leaders press senators to reimburse National Guard | New pressure on US-Iran nuclear talks House votes to repeal 2002 Iraq war powers Overnight Defense: Biden, Putin agree to launch arms control talks at summit | 2002 war authorization repeal will get Senate vote | GOP rep warns Biden 'blood with be on his hands' without Afghan interpreter evacuation MORE (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 SandersBernie SandersThe Memo: The center strikes back Sanders against infrastructure deal with more gas taxes, electric vehicle fees Sunday shows - Voting rights, infrastructure in the spotlight MORE (I-Vt.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandGillibrand: Military must make changes beyond sexual assault cases COVID-19 long-haulers press Congress for paid family leave Ocasio-Cortez, Gillibrand and Moulton call for more high-speed rail funding in infrastructure package MORE (D-N.Y.), Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisBiden, Harris send well wishes for Father's Day The U.S. and Mexico must revamp institutions supporting their joint efforts Harris signals a potential breakthrough in US-Mexico cooperation MORE (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenThe Memo: The center strikes back Centrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting Democrats have turned solidly against gas tax MORE (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.