M5NYBR San Diego, California, USA. 24th Feb, 2018. U.S. Senator KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA) addresses the 2018 California Democrats State Convention. Credit: Brian Cahn/ZUMA Wire/Alamy Live News

Kamala Harris backs Booker’s restorative justice legislation legalizing marijuana

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“By passing this act, it will prevent the United States Department of Justice coming into our states and enforcing laws that we have decided are unjust and unfair,” said Kamala Harris.

Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) announced that she will sign on as a co-sponsor to Cory Booker’s (D-N.J.) Marijuana Justice Act, a bill that legalizes marijuana on a federal level.

A former California prosecutor, Harris said in a video to publicly announce her support. “It’s the smart thing to do, it’s the right thing to do … I know it when I just look at where we need to be as a country.”

“The laws we have in this country are not fair, in terms of application and in terms of enforcement,” she continued.

Along with decriminalizing marijuana use by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act, the bill will expunge marijuana convictions and incentivize states that decriminalize cannabis.

Another aspect of the bill directs federal funding to programs that carry out recidivism and drug addiction treatment.

“The fact is, marijuana laws are not applied and enforced the same way for all people,” said Harris.

“So, for example, African-Americans use marijuana at roughly the same rate as whites, but are approximately four times more likely to be arrested for possession.”

Democrats Move to Decriminalize Marijuana

In April, Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), became the first non-Democrat to sign onto the bill, joining Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

On Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced that he is planning to introduce a bill to remove marijuana from the list of federally controlled substances.

Booker, who joined Harris emphasized, “Marijuana prohibition has wasted billions and billions of our taxpayer dollars, of our public resources. It has taken up the time and attention of police officers and law enforcement who should be dealing with more serious drugs, more serious crimes and protecting our communities.”

The House version of the Marijuana Justice Act was introduced by Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Congressman Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) along with 12 House members as supporters.

The Democrats are attempting to move legislation in  a presidential Administration that works to dismantle cannabis-friendly policy. In January, Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions ended federal policy that provided legal shelter for marijuana sales in California and five other states, a law put in place during the Obama Administration.

Although, Donald Trump stated “I really believe we should leave [marijuana] up to the states’ and that ‘it’s got to be a state decision,” during his candidacy it has been the opposite as president.

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