California was the first state to legalize cannabis for medical use, taking the big step in 1996. As of 2019, there are 33 states that have since joined in the medical cannabis movement, all the while, 10 states, and including Washington, D.C. have decriminalized marijuana for ages 21+ as recreational use; However, cannabis remains illegal under U.S. federal law, and that may not be the case for to much longer.
According to Pew Research Center, around 65% of American's, are wanting prohibition of cannabis to come to an end. Together, Democratic Senator of New Jersey, Cory Booker, with Democratic California Representatives Barbara Lee and Ro Khanna, introduced a bill called the Marijuana Justice Act of 2019, that would do just that.
Introduced first in 2017, the Marijuana Justice Act is only a matter of time. Legalization federally is one thing Booker promises as a focus of his 2020 campaign along with criminal justice reform.
The bill would remove cannabis, currently a Schedule 1 narcotic, from the federal list of controlled substances completely. Furthermore, to legalize the plant on a nationwide level, opening up doors for more research, manufacturing, and development of an ever growing industry currently booming in the United States, and creating revenue from the taxes. Also the bill encourages states to follow the legalization with financial incentives.
Well, what would happen to all the people who are doing time due to simple possesion charges of cannabis, you might ask? The Marijuana Justice Act would also expunge the criminal records of anyone who had been charged with possession and also that anyone currently incarcerated for the offense to petition for an immediate re-sentencing. Those who were convicted during prohibition laws would also be provided job training and resources under the act.
Booker also tweeted:
"I’ve seen firsthand how our failed drug laws can fracture communities, destroy families, and make us all less safe—that’s why I wrote legislation in 2017 that will start reversing decades of failed federal drug policy.
Today, I reintroduced my bill—the #MarijuanaJustice Act."
Justin Strekal, Political Director of NORML, states:
“The ongoing enforcement of cannabis prohibition financially burdens taxpayers, encroaches upon civil liberties, engenders disrespect for the law, impedes legitimate scientific research into the plant’s medicinal properties, and disproportionately impacts communities of color.
Communities of color have disproportionately suffered for decades because of our racist enforcement of marijuana laws and that must be addressed in the age of legalization through policies such as the Marijuana Justice Act. It is time for federal lawmakers to acknowledge this reality. It is time to stop ceding control of the marijuana market to untaxed criminal enterprises, and for lawmakers to amend federal law in a manner that comports with available science, public opinion, and the rapidly changing cultural status of cannabis.”
As with everything, there will be a resistance to cannabis. We have come a long way in the ending of this prohibition. Let us all remember to respect others opinions, the industry, and to give quality informaion to those in search of it. I will be doing what I can to bring valuable information and case studies all in one place here on our blog.
If you would like to know more, I will be continuing to cover this story in our blog as it develops.