WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Senate Democrats unveiled a draft bill to decriminalize marijuana nationwide.
The bill, introduced Wednesday by Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and Senators Cory Booker and Ron Wyden, stops short of legalizing sales in all states but ends federal enforcement. It also aims to provide justice to minorities.
Senate Democrats say it’s time to end the war on marijuana.
“In 2019, there were more marijuana arrested than all other violent crimes combined and the majority of those were for simple possession,” said Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ).
The legislation would remove marijuana from the federal controlled substances list and give cannabis businesses access to banking, as well as regulate and tax marijuana sales.
“Revenue generated through legalizing cannabis would go directly to support restoration in the lives of those most harmed by the war on drugs as well as public health and safety,” said Wyden.
Democrats like Sen. Schumer say outdated federal laws impact people of color the most by making it “tougher to get a job, tougher to get credit, tougher to live a normal life.”
The proposal would expunge the records of people with non-violent marijuana convictions, allow those currently serving time to be re-sentenced and provide grants to minority entrepreneurs who want to open marijuana businesses.
Luke Niforatos with Smart Approaches to Marijuana says decriminalizing marijuana will be harmful.
“It’s invested in by tobacco, alcohol and pharma — the drug is much more potent and much more addictive than it’s ever been,” Niforatos said.