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posted by martyb on Wednesday August 02 2017, @12:39PM   Printer-friendly
from the smoke-screen? dept.

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker has introduced a bill (alt) that has been described by Marijuana Majority as the most far-reaching marijuana bill ever filed in either chamber of Congress. It would legalize cannabis federally by removing "marihuana" and tetrahydrocannabinols from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. But it would go much further by withholding money from states with racially or financially disparate arrest and incarceration rates for cannabis-related crimes (effectively all states where cannabis is illegal):

The bill would legalize marijuana at the federal level and withhold federal money for building jails and prisons, along with other funds, from states whose cannabis laws are shown to disproportionately incarcerate minorities.

Under the legislation, federal convictions for marijuana use and possession would be expunged and prisoners serving time for a marijuana offense would be entitled to a sentencing hearing.

Those "aggrieved" by a disproportionate arrest or imprisonment rate would be able to sue, according to the bill. And a Community Reinvestment Fund would be established to "reinvest in communities most affected by the war on drugs" for everything from re-entry programs to public libraries.

Booker says that he will work towards bipartisan support for the bill.

Serious legalization attempt or just advertising for a 2020 U.S. Presidential Campaign?


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  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 02 2017, @01:07PM (18 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 02 2017, @01:07PM (#547925)

    Great. So federally mandated arrest quotas.

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  • (Score: 5, Touché) by takyon on Wednesday August 02 2017, @01:15PM (10 children)

    by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Wednesday August 02 2017, @01:15PM (#547926) Journal

    Eliminate the "crime", and then you don't have to worry about quotas.

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    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday August 02 2017, @04:07PM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday August 02 2017, @04:07PM (#547972) Journal

      But think of the children! [postimg.org]

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      With modern TVs you don't have to worry about braking the yolk on the back of the picture tube.
    • (Score: 4, Informative) by slinches on Wednesday August 02 2017, @04:19PM (8 children)

      by slinches (5049) on Wednesday August 02 2017, @04:19PM (#547976)

      That's the intent. Hold federal funds hostage to force the hand of the states into making laws that suit someone in the federal government. Not that I'm opposed to legalization, I just want to point out federal overreach and encroachment on state sovereignty when I see it.

      • (Score: 2, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 02 2017, @04:28PM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 02 2017, @04:28PM (#547985)

        Or you could just arrest everyone that commits the crime, instead of arresting non-whites while letting whites off with a warning. That would work just as well, and not require legalization.

        "Encroaching" on racism and discrimination is just what federal government is supposed to do.

        • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Thexalon on Wednesday August 02 2017, @06:26PM (2 children)

          by Thexalon (636) on Wednesday August 02 2017, @06:26PM (#548040)

          Or you could just arrest everyone that commits the crime, instead of arresting non-whites while letting whites off with a warning.

          If the government started treating white drug users the way they currently treat black drug users, we'd have complete legalization of everything within a couple of months. The disparity in treatment of white drug users is why white people tolerate and even support the "War on Drugs".

          --
          The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
          • (Score: 2) by edIII on Wednesday August 02 2017, @10:06PM (1 child)

            by edIII (791) on Wednesday August 02 2017, @10:06PM (#548136)

            I think you're way off with the white-man-bashing today. Along with some others.

            Not everyone votes. So people like me that don't vote are not expressing anything. At least not officially. Most people can see through the propaganda because they either experimented with it, or are close to somebody that has. It's a different kind of generalization, where people see MJ users as the caricatures in mass media like Dave Chappelle in Half-Baked. That was racially diverse, and some people's take away from that is that MJ makes you a "bad person". Somebody subject to their own desires and living a life of Hedonism. There is the stereotype that stoners are locked into their couch, obviously not at a real job generating to our national GDP.

            So don't discount the religious reasons for being against it. Whether or not they are valid is arguable, but they are very much sourced from religion when Satan and Hedonism is mentioned. I've met plenty people that are/were against it, and it is not based on fear of the Black or Hispanic man.

            I think you are also discounting the massive amount of propaganda surrounding it that affects people's views. It can affect them in ways not related to racial animus. You could be against it from a scientific viewpoint, or the viewpoint of keeping the body pure, etc. The blanket assumption that racial fears and animus simply must be the reason is simplistic.

            Lastly, DO NOT DISCOUNT !!PROFIT!!. There is a large amount of profit involved and I was surprised to hear from many that they were NOT voting for legalization. In California's case I voted AGAINST it. That was because it was a huge giveaway for a few rich people setup in the new regulated environment. Over 60% of growers in Northern California are now STILL ILLEGAL. Not because MJ is illegal, but because they're violating zoning laws and business regulations. No longer DEA, but some state employee entering your business and informing you that you are shut down. Al Capone was taken down because of the IRS, and there are quite a few people now shut out of the legal market.

            It's like rider bills in Congress. The Senator introduces the no-child-left-hungry act, so emotionally loaded it *must* pass, while in the back 10 pages it lists out the pork projects approved with it. Hard to fight against it when the opposition shows a hungry child with Struthers crying through handfuls of cake shoved in her mouth.

            Almost anybody that is making a living off MJ is hesitant for full legalization. It's not hard to understand. A) Do the right thing and legalize. B) Vote no, but still have a house being paid for, food on the table, etc.

            You guys missed many reasons why you could be against it. Not saying they are valid, or ethical, but they are there.

            --
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            • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Thursday August 03 2017, @10:56PM

              by Thexalon (636) on Thursday August 03 2017, @10:56PM (#548514)

              I understand the argument very well: my own state of Ohio recently voted down a legalization bill precisely because it would have been a giveaway to a few friends of the governor who would be the only ones legally allowed to grow and sell. I'm never surprised when politicians are out for a quick buck rather than trying to do what's best for the voters.

              However, the simple fact is that at the policy level, the purpose of the War on Drugs is and has always been to allow the government to go after racial minorities. This is well documented from the 1930's to the 1970's and onwards. And there is a clear understanding from all levels (police, citizens, and others) that when white people are caught with drugs, the punishment is far lighter (or nonexistent) while black people and black men go to jail.

              --
              The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 02 2017, @04:45PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 02 2017, @04:45PM (#547993)

        "states rights" ends up looking a lot like china and the further back you go the more it looks the same. Actually the government there is overhauling this system right now so they can behave like a modern superpower.

        That's cool I dig it comrade. They're called red states for a reason.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 02 2017, @09:44PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 02 2017, @09:44PM (#548127)

        I do agree with you that this addendum is just bullshit political games, but making certain drugs illegal across all 50 states (at the federal level) was the initial encroachment on state sovereignty. Simply repeal these laws, as they never should have happened in the first place.

      • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Thursday August 03 2017, @03:14AM

        by hemocyanin (186) on Thursday August 03 2017, @03:14AM (#548209) Journal

        There is no overreach when the state is free to refuse the money. Most of the prohibition states are net recipients of Federal money anyway. It would be nice for donor states to get a little bit back.

      • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Thursday August 03 2017, @02:35PM

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 03 2017, @02:35PM (#548360) Journal

        There's little if anything to "encroach" any longer. I presume that you know about the history of seat belt laws?

        http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/2009-05-13-seatbelts_N.htm [usatoday.com]

        Every state law regarding seat belts was driven by the threat of withholding federal funds. The feds do the same sort of thing in agriculture, business, manufacturing, drugs, and more. They have encroached on damned near everything already - there isn't much room for more encroachment.

  • (Score: 2) by richtopia on Wednesday August 02 2017, @03:38PM (6 children)

    by richtopia (3160) on Wednesday August 02 2017, @03:38PM (#547957) Homepage Journal

    I'm not sure if quota is the correct term, as it is looking at proportion of arrests by race. I suppose this could turn into a white person quota if historical trends of arresting minorities continues, until the end of the month when someone realizes that federal funding will be lost without more white arrests.

    • (Score: 0, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 02 2017, @03:51PM (5 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 02 2017, @03:51PM (#547963)

      Yeah, what will they do. Let thugs roam the streets or fill jails with innocent people to fullfill the statistics quota?

      withholding money from states with racially or financially disparate arrest and incarceration rates for cannabis-related crimes

      There IS one problem here. If "brown people" commit more drug related crimes then those places can't get funding. A brutal solution is to make brown peoples life so miserable so they leave the state. In essence if the majority of brown people are expelled then mostly white people will get arrested and they can get funding.
      Booker didn't think of that perverted incentive did he? :-)

      Another way is to make the test show that the substance is something else like cocaine. And viola.. arrest rates for cannabis goes down. Magic.

      • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 02 2017, @04:25PM (4 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 02 2017, @04:25PM (#547981)

        Yeah, what will they do. Let thugs roam the streets or fill jails with innocent people to fullfill the statistics quota?

        Oh fuck you and the strawman you rode in on.

        racially or financially disparate arrest and incarceration rates for cannabis-related crimes

        As in, if you catch 10 white people and 10 black people using cannabis, but arrest 2 whites and 10 blacks, your arrest rate is racist, to the tune of 5-to-1. If you catch 10 white people and 1000 black people, but arrest 5 whites and 500 blacks, your arrest rate is not discriminatory.

        Do you understand, or do I need smaller words and a few crayon pictures?

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 02 2017, @05:14PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 02 2017, @05:14PM (#548009)

          It might do some good if you did. Subtle details are hard to fathom after all. So let's just lump the whole thing together, call it a 'sin' and not have to worry about it ever again, right?

        • (Score: 5, Informative) by Thexalon on Wednesday August 02 2017, @06:23PM (2 children)

          by Thexalon (636) on Wednesday August 02 2017, @06:23PM (#548035)

          And the actual numbers:
          Approximately 12% of white Americans, and 14% of black Americans respond in polls that they've used MJ. That means that there are about 25 million white MJ users, and 7 million black MJ users. So, if the arrests were proportional, we'd expect that about 3.5 times as many white people as black people would be arrested for dope. In fact, about half of the 575,000 arrests for pot were of black people, which means you're about 3-4 times more likely to be caught with dope if you're black.

          And of course, because it's a possession crime, just because there's pot, a cop, and a person being arrested doesn't mean that the person being arrested was the one who brought the pot.

          --
          The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
          • (Score: 0, Flamebait) by Entropy on Thursday August 03 2017, @12:30AM (1 child)

            by Entropy (4228) on Thursday August 03 2017, @12:30AM (#548181)

            1 What if black people are worse criminals, and get caught more?
            2 What if black people are caught using marijuana because they were involved in some other crime which they are more likely per capita to commit?(like rape, or murder, or domestic violence)
            3 What if the poll about illegal drug use had one race lie more than the other? I'm pretty sure the percentage of any race trying marijuana in the US is a ton higher than 12-14%.

            • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Thursday August 03 2017, @03:17AM

              by hemocyanin (186) on Thursday August 03 2017, @03:17AM (#548210) Journal

              1) What if you were an asshole?
              2) What if you were a giant asshole?
              3) What if you were a goatse scale asshole?