The New Jersey senator has introduced a bill to decriminalize marijuana.
After four years in Washington, Cory Booker has already earned a well-deserved reputation as the thirstiest man in politics not named Mike Pence. Between the 10,000 selfies (all numbers approximate) that the New Jersey senator posted with then-candidate Hillary Clinton, his koan-laden patriotic musings from the Senate floor on gun control, and his decision to basically use Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearings to workshop a killer stump speech, it seems apparent that Booker has big plans for a high-profile election set to take place 1,190 days from right now. For many, his snow-shoveling, constituent-saving, dog-rescuing humble hero shtick has worn thin, and as Booker searches diligently through the corridors of his Senate office building for some new, obnoxiously transparent ploy to openly signal his 2020 candidacy, it’s fair to wonder whether early-onset Booker fatigue might derail a potential presidential bid before it even gets underw—WHOA HEY WHAT’S THIS?
U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) today introduced a landmark bill to
reverse decades of failed drug policy that has disproportionately
impacted communities of color…The Marijuana Justice Act would remove marijuana from the list of
controlled substances, making it legal at the federal level. The bill
would also incentivize states through federal funds to change their
marijuana laws if those laws were shown to have a disproportionate
effect on low-income individuals and/or people of color.
Cory Booker’s vision of a new American justice system is one that delivers fair and equitable results to everyone, regardless of characteristics like race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status. Also, he wants you to have legal weed.
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.
Activists frequently point to the draconian mandatory minimum sentences imposed on nonviolent drug offenders as one of the simplest and most efficacious potential fixes for a discriminatory, broken legal system informed by a badly-outdated social and scientific understanding of drugs like marijuana. Booker’s bill would allow the millions of Americans whose lives have been affected by this public policy disaster to have their prison sentences shortened or perhaps even tossed altogether. Plus, as previously noted: weed.
If enacted into law, the bill would automatically expunge federal marijuana crimes and set aside funds for job training, reentry services, public libraries, community centers, and youth programs in areas have that have been disproportionately victimized by this nation’s failed controlled substances policies. It would also send Booker’s former colleague, attorney general and noted War on Drugs enthusiast Jeff Sessions, into a tailspin of anger, depression, and an overpowering sense that life is meaningless, although that aspect of the proposed legislation probably won’t be formally included in the proposal’s text. (Sessions needn’t worry, though. Booker’s legislation can help with that, too.)
I currently rate the odds of this bill’s success as somewhere between zero and Jared Kushner’s (heh) chances at brokering peace in the Middle East, but still! There is perhaps no surer way to endear yourself to potential 2020 voters in that coveted 18-35 bracket than proffering a data-driven, common-sense appeal to their collective sense of racial and social justice, and, in the process, finding a way to let them enjoy their outdoor music festival of choice just a little bit more.
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