WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries announced their intentions to re-introduce legislation known as the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act, to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), thus ending the nearly century-long federal policy of criminalization and prohibition.
“It’s time to decriminalize marijuana, and this bill is a critical first step,” said Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY). “The Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act would give states the right to make their own choices when it comes to regulation; better equip all Americans, particularly communities disproportionately impacted by marijuana’s criminalization, to participate in the growing marijuana economy; and, by incentivizing sealing and expungement programs, provide Americans with low-level marijuana convictions the opportunity to move forward.”
“For far too long, the impact of America’s repressive, archaic marijuana laws has been felt most heavily by people of color,” said Representative Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08). “This critical effort works to correct that injustice by providing $100 million toward expungement programs and creating an investment fund for people of color and female entrepreneurs who wish to enter the lucrative legal cannabis industry.”
NORML’S Political Director Justin Strekal issued the following statement:
“The Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act is comprehensive legislation that would end our nation’s failed 80-year prohibition of marijuana and allow states to implement reforms free from the threat of federal interference.”
“This bill is part of the continued shift of Democratic Party leadership. At a time when 68 percent of Americans support marijuana legalization, including outright majorities of Democrats (77 percent), Independents (62 percent), and Republicans (57 percent), it is time for ending federal prohibition to become a truly bipartisan issue in the eyes of voters.”
“Legislative relief must come sooner rather than later. Over 650,000 Americans, disproportionately black, brown, young, and poor, are arrested for violating marijuana laws annually. Those without the means to defend themselves from the state bear the greatest burden and lifelong consequences of this ongoing failed federal policy. It is time for Congressional leaders to take a stand to right these past wrongs.”
“The importance of this bill’s emphasis on facilitating the expunging of individual criminal records for marijuana possession cannot be overstated. Millions of Americans have suffered from the lifelong collateral consequences of criminal prohibition, making it harder for them to find a job, obtain housing, and access higher education.”
“As states dial back their war on marijuana consumers, it is important that those who were impacted by this oppressive prohibition are able to see previous harms remedied, and be provided the opportunity to participate in the benefits that come along with legalization and regulation.”
Send a message to your elected officials in support of this legislation now.
Tags: Chuck Schumer, Controlled Substances Act, Hakeem Jeffries, Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act