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S.1689 / H.R.4815 - Marijuana Justice Act of 2017

Congress man and Senator Cory Booker talking at a Congressional event in front of the American flag.

To amend the Controlled Substances Act to provide for a new rule regarding the application of the Act to marihuana, and for other purposes.


You might favor this bill if:
► You believe that marijuana should be decriminalized at a federal level while incentivizing states which disproportionately arrest low-income individuals and people of color for marijuana-related offenses, to legalize marijuana through a reduction in federal dollars. Those currently imprisoned for marijuana use or possession crimes should be allowed to petition a court for a resentencing.

You might oppose this bill if:
► You believe that marijuana should not be removed as a Schedule I drug (Defined as having no current approved medical use in treatment in the U.S.) Marijuana does not offer any medical benefits and should continue to be criminalized.

Watch Senator Booker defend his bill:

The Marijuana Justice Act would deschedule marijuana as a controlled substance, incentivize states through federal funds to change their marijuana laws if marihuana is illegal in that state and such state disproportionately arrests or incarcerates low-income individuals or people of color for marijuana-related offenses, would automatically expunge federal marijuana use and possession crimes while allowing individuals currently imprisoned for marijuana use or possession crimes to petition a court for a resentencing, and creates a “community reinvestment fund” to re-invest in communities most impacted by the “failed War on Drugs.”

The legislation removes marijuana and tetrahydrocannabinols from the Schedule I category and decriminalizes it at a federal level. Schedule I drugs are defined as substances that have high risk or potential to be abused, have no current accepted medical use in treatment in the U.S., and have a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision. Supporters of legalization argue that marijuana does not contain the side effects, the number of yearly deaths, or the dangers that other drugs in the same category does have. The bill also removes prohibition on imports, exports, and transportation of marijuana across the country.

States that have enforced laws against marijuana, in a way that disproportionately impacts low-income people and people of color, are incentivized by the bill to legalize marijuana by enforcing a maximum 10-percent reduction of their fiscal year’s Federal funds. Those states also become ineligible to receive any Federal funds for the construction or staffing of prisons or jails.

The bill is retroactive and would automatically expunge federal marijuana use and possession crimes and would apply to those already serving time behind bars for marijuana-related offenses, providing for a judge’s review of marijuana sentences.

A “community reinvestment fund” would be established to create grant programs that reinvest in communities most affected by the war on drugs. This fund would provide grants to programs relating to:
- job training;
- reentry services;
- expenses related to the expungement of convictions;
- public libraries;
- community centers;
- programs and opportunities dedicated to youth;
- the special purpose fund discussed below; and
- health education programs.

“Marijuana legalization is an issue whose time has come – it’s no longer a matter of if, it’s a matter of when,” said Senator Booker, sponsor of the bill. “This bill is about justice and the reality that low-income communities and communities of color have been disproportionately targeted by the War on Drugs, which was not really a war on drugs as much as it was a war on people. This issue is about moving our country toward greater justice for communities of color and low-income communities and I’m excited that Senator Sanders is lending his voice and support to this movement.”


“Here is the simple truth: Blacks and whites have similar rates of marijuana use, but black people are far more likely to be arrested for it. Last year, about 600,000 people were arrested for possession of marijuana. Many of those people, disproportionately people of color, have seen their lives destroyed because they have criminal records as a result of marijuana use. That has got to change,” said Senator Sanders, cosponsor of the legislation. “As I talked about during my campaign, we must end the absurd situation of marijuana being listed as a Schedule 1 drug alongside heroin. It is time to decriminalize marijuana, as many states have already done, and end the failed war on drugs. We must invest in jobs and education, not more jails and incarceration.”


S.1689

Sponsored by: Sen. Booker, Cory A. [D-NJ].

Cosponsored by: 0 Rep / 2 Dem / 1 Ind

See list of cosponsors.


H.R.4815

Sponsored by: Lee, Barbara [D-CA-13].

Cosponsored by: 0 Rep / 27 Dem.

See list of cosponsors.


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