New York Senator Gillibrand Signs on to Marijuana Reform Bill

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What to Know

  • NY Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand announced that she is cosponsoring NJ Sen. Cory Booker’s bill to end the federal prohibition on marijuana
  • Gillibrand, a Democrat, is the second U.S. senator to cosponsor this bill
  • The Marijuana Justice Act, introduced last year, looks to remove marijuana from the list of controlled substances, making it legal

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand announced Wednesday that she is cosponsoring New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker’s bill to end the federal prohibition on marijuana.

Gillibrand, a Democrat, is the second U.S. senator to cosponsor this bill.

The Marijuana Justice Act, which was introduced last year, looks to remove marijuana from the list of controlled substances, making it legal at the federal level.

“Legalizing marijuana is a social justice issue and a moral issue that Congress needs to address, and I’m proud to work with Sen. Booker on this legislation to help fix decades of injustice caused by our nation’s failed drug policies,” Gillibrand said in a statement.

Aside from making marijuana legal on a federal level, the bill, which is retroactive, looks to expunge federal marijuana use and possession crimes as well as allow for individuals serving time for marijuana use or possession crimes to petition a court for resentencing.

The bill also looks to incentivize states through federal funds to change their marijuana laws if they are shown to disproportionately impact low-income and minority communities.

“The War on Drugs has been a war on people, especially people of color and low-income individuals,” Booker, a Democrat, said in a statement, adding that if the initiative passes, it will address “the damage the War on Drugs has inflicted on communities disproportionately impacted by marijuana enforcement.”

Democratic California Sen. Ron Wyden was the first senator to cosponsor the Marijuana Justice Act last year. Last month, California representatives Barbara Lee and Ro Khanna, both democrats, introduced a companion measure in the House of Representatives. It has more than 20 cosponsors in the House.

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