US Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) is the first US senator to cosponsor Senator Cory Booker’s (D-NJ) bill to end the federal prohibition on marijuana. Wyden announced his support in a Facebook live with Booker. The Marijuana Justice Act would remove marijuana from the list of controlled substances, making it legal at the federal level.
“Jeff Sessions and the Trump administration are still trying to fight a 1980s drug war that is socially unjust, economically backward and against the will of the American people,” Wyden said. “I’m proud to join forces with Senator Booker to fight this administration’s attempts to shift our country into reverse when it comes to federal marijuana policy. It’s more important now than ever to update outdated policies, right the wrongs against communities of color, and continue our work to lift up the voices of the many Americans who are speaking out in favor of legalization.”
“I’m thrilled that my colleague, Senator Wyden, has joined me on this groundbreaking bill,” Senator Booker said. “It’s long past due that we reform our nation’s deeply broken drug laws, which disproportionately harm low-income communities and communities of color. This is more than a marijuana reform bill – it’s about ensuring equal justice for all, and we won’t stop fighting until we fix our broken criminal justice system.”
According to the senators, in addition to making marijuana legal at the federal level, the legislation would also incentivize states through federal funds to change their marijuana laws if those laws are shown to have a disproportionate effect on low-income individuals and/or people of color. The bill is retroactive and would apply to those already serving time behind bars for marijuana-related offenses, providing for a judge’s review of marijuana sentences.