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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: 4, Interesting) by Grishnakh on Wednesday August 02 2017, @08:40PM (1 child)

    by Grishnakh (2831) on Wednesday August 02 2017, @08:40PM (#548104)

    Except there IS no valid reason to support the ban. If you disagree, I'd like to hear the reason, because I've never heard one, other than "it's illegal". The reason it's illegal is because of Anslinger and the anti-marijuana movement which was founded on racist ideas as discussed before, and also (thanks to 'turgid' for this quote):

    Working with a newspaper magnate, William Randolph Hearst, he created hysteria around the impact of cannabis on American youth and proclaimed an invasion of marijuana-smoking Mexican men assaulting white women. The ensuing public anxiety led to the drug being banned. The US then imposed its anti-cannabis stance on other western countries and this was finally imposed on the rest of the world through the first UN convention on narcotic drugs in 1961.

    You have a great point: the law should be repealed because the reasoning is wrong. If there is valid reasoning, then they can pass another bill to do the exact same thing, but with valid reasoning. But since there's no valid reasoning, the new bill won't pass. Yes, *I* would do this, because it's a better way to have public policy. We clearly aren't going to get it legalized easily just because it doesn't make sense to have it criminalized, it costs society a fortune in incarceration and enforcement and lost productivity, etc. etc., so maybe that's the approach: attack the original reasoning used to pass the laws in the first place, and have it repealed on that alone. After that, it'll be much harder to ban it because they'd need a much better reason than "it makes white women have sex with 'Negroes' and entertainers" to actually get the new bill passed. After all, it's generally hard to get new legislation passed, especially if it's controversial, so maybe we really do need a mechanism in government so that laws are repealed if the original arguments for the laws are found to be bogus.

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  • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Wednesday August 02 2017, @08:50PM

    by tangomargarine (667) on Wednesday August 02 2017, @08:50PM (#548110)

    Oh, I'm in favor of legalizing weed, too. I just take issue with your claim that anybody who doesn't agree, automatically holds a specific argument and that makes them a bad person.

    "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"