New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker says pot should come off the controlled substance list — and he's introducing a bill to do just that.
The MJA would award federal funds to states that change their pot laws if current regulations are shown to have an outsized impact on people of color, such as higher arrest rates.
The senator also wants to expunge federal marijuana possession and use crimes and let people serving federal prison time petition for resentencing.
"Our country's drug laws are badly broken and need to be fixed," Booker said in a statement.
"They don't make our communities any safer – instead they divert critical resources from fighting violent crimes, tear families apart, unfairly impact low-income communities and communities of color, and waste billions in taxpayer dollars each year."
Booker went on to say that "descheduling marijuana and applying that change retroactively to people currently serving time for marijuana offenses is a necessary step in correcting this unjust system. States have so far led the way in reforming our criminal justice system and it's about time the federal government catches up and begins to assert leadership."
The MJA would create a "community reinvestment fund" to help the places hit hardest by the War on Drugs, providing money for job training, post-prison re-entry services, public libraries and youth programs.
Already, "205 million Americans live in a state where marijuana use is legal in some way," according to USA Today, although pot remains illegal at the federal level.
Changing that could run into static under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who earlier this year described weed as only "slightly less awful" than heroin and said "our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs will destroy your life."
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