Democratic senators will work to pass marijuana reform bill this year

·2 min read

“The War on Drugs has been a war on people — particularly people of color”

Democratic lawmakers are working to decriminalize marijuana.

Senators are looking to legalize marijuana on a federal level and provide justice reform for those who have been criminalized due to the drug. On Monday, the senators announced their plan to conclude the federal prohibition on marijuana.

“Ending the federal marijuana prohibition is necessary to right the wrongs of this failed war and end decades of harm inflicted on communities of color across the country,” said in a statement by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senators Ron Wyden, of Oregon and Cory Booker, of New Jersey, per CNBC.

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“The War on Drugs has been a war on people — particularly people of color.”

The Senators also plan to “protect public health and implement responsible taxes and regulations.”

Many states have already decriminalized marijuana. Arizona, New Jersey, Montana, and South Dakota voted to approve recreational marijuana sales in the 2020 November elections.

New Jersey is one of the largest states by population to approve the drug, applying pressure to its neighbors.

“We anticipated an influx of negative publicity and press trying to block the vote [in New Jersey], none of that happened,” said co-chairman of the Cannabis Law Group at law firm Cole Schotz, Rob DiPisa.

“New Jersey will be a big deal because it will be the first mid-Atlantic state to legalize cannabis for adult use. It’s also between Pennsylvania and New York, two states that have been discussing legalization for some time,” said DiPisa. “New Jersey will influence those neighboring states and usher them over the edge, especially because COVID-19 has created big budget deficits.”

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf Speaks At The Cannabis Business Summit And Expo
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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36 states have legalized marijuana for medical use, while 15 states and the District of Colombia have legalized it for recreational use.

But the Senators agree that simply legalizing weed is not good enough.

“But that alone is not enough. As states continue to legalize marijuana, we must also enact measures that will lift up people who were unfairly targeted in the War on Drugs.”

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