"For decades, the failed War on Drugs has locked up millions of nonviolent drug offenders - especially for marijuana-related offenses - at an incredible cost of lost human potential, torn apart families and communities, and taxpayer dollars", Booker said in the Facebook post.
The Marijuana Justice Act of 2017 would also encourage states with disproportionate marijuana-related arrests or incarcerations of poor or minority citizens to legalize marijuana by denying them federal funds for law enforcement and jailing.
Given the effect this has had on marginalized communities, Booker said it's necessary to go beyond legalization and help those who have been disproportionately impacted. Even in Colorado and Washington, where recreational use is legal, black people are twice as likely to be arrested for breaking the states' marijuana laws.
Booker's legislation would amend the Controlled Substances Act to drop marijuana from the list of schedule one drugs, which would decriminalize it at the federal level, the Hill reports.
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The legislation comes in the face of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions' stiff opposition to the drug.
Booker announced his measure Tuesday in a Facebook Live video (below).
"Descheduling marijuana and applying that change retroactively to people now serving time for marijuana offenses is a necessary step in correcting this unjust system", he said in the statement.
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