Cory Booker introduces bill to legalize marijuana nationwide

Cory Booker introduces bill to legalize marijuana nationwide
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Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSunday shows - Guns dominate after Democratic debate Booker defends middle-ground health care approach: 'We're going to fight to get there' Sunday shows preview: Democratic candidates make the rounds after debate 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) KhannaYoung insurgents aren't rushing to Kennedy's side in Markey fight Khanna: I 'didn't appreciate' Castro's attack on Biden Overwhelming majority of voters want lawmakers to work with other party MORE (D-Calif.) and Rep. Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeMarijuana industry donations to lawmakers surge in 2019: analysis Lawmakers urge DNC to name Asian American debate moderator Overnight Health Care: Planned Parenthood to leave federal family planning program absent court action | Democrats demand Trump withdraw rule on transgender health | Cummings, Sanders investigate three drug companies for 'obstructing' probe 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 SandersGun control: Campaigning vs. legislating Booker defends middle-ground health care approach: 'We're going to fight to get there' Sunday shows preview: Democratic candidates make the rounds after debate MORE (I-Vt.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandAt debate, Warren and Buttigieg tap idealism of Obama, FDR Trump court pick sparks frustration for refusing to answer questions Klobuchar, Buttigieg find themselves accidentally flying to debate together MORE (D-N.Y.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHarris bashes Kavanaugh's 'sham' nomination process, calls for his impeachment after sexual misconduct allegation Gun control: Campaigning vs. legislating Booker defends middle-ground health care approach: 'We're going to fight to get there' MORE (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenGun control: Campaigning vs. legislating Booker defends middle-ground health care approach: 'We're going to fight to get there' Democrats spar over electoral appeal of 'Medicare for All' 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.