Marijuana Legislation Update
Recently New Jersey Senator Cory Booker introduced legislation called the Marijuana Justice Act of 2017. If the bill passes it will legalize marijuana at the federal level, incentivize legalization at the state level, and retroactively apply to those serving time in federal prison for marijuana-related offenses by providing a process for expungement and resentencing, pending a judge’s review.
Why is this important?
According to Senator Booker, police arrest more Americans for simple possession of marijuana than for all violent crimes—murder, sexual assault, and armed robbery—combined. Furthermore, half of all drug arrests in the United States are for marijuana—the majority for simple possession.
While researching Busted, I discovered the war on drugs has cost the federal government more than a trillion dollars. We learned with alcohol that prohibition doesn’t work, and it’s not working with drugs. They’re more available and purer than ever. From an economic point of view, the drug war is a colossal failure.
From a humanitarian point of view, the U.S. is losing more than 50,000 people a year to drug overdose deaths. According to Michael Collins, the Deputy Director of the National Affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, it is time to take drug use out of the criminal justice system and start treating it as a health issue.
We have an overflowing prison population, and while marijuana is legal in eight states, and medicinal marijuana is legal in twenty-nine states, there are disproportionate arrest rates with Americans of color, the poor, and arrests continue in states that have legalized marijuana like Colorado. Legalizing marijuana at the federal level is the first step in addressing these issues.
If you agree, sign the petition: It is time to right the wrongs of prohibition. Tell your Senators to support the Marijuana Justice Act.
Thanks for reading.
Warmest Regards, Michele
Michele I. Khoury Author, Busted www.michelekhoury.com