A bill that would see marijuana decriminalized across the entire nation, originally brought by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) in August, has found a cosponsor. Senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, added his support to the bill this week, agreeing with Booker that this is a first step toward ending the war on drugs.
Wyden said people of color around the U.S. are convicted for marijuana crimes that millions of other Americans also commit without facing the same consequences. "It's just wrong, wrong, wrong."
Along with removing marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances, the bill proposes the following measures:
The bill also would penalize states that haven't legalized marijuana and have "disproportionate" rates of arrest and incarceration for marijuana-related offences by cutting federal funding in those states for new jails, prisons and staffing.
The bill would help Americans convicted of marijuana-related crimes retroactively expunge those offences from their records.
In addition, it would create a "Community Reinvestment Fund" for communities hit hardest by the war on drugs. Communities would get federal money for efforts such as job training programs, pubic libraries, community centers and health education programs.