Tag Archives: Sen. Cory Booker

Senator Cory Booker still wants to legalize marijuana nationally by punishing prohibition states

Erik McLaren     17 November, 2017

Senator Cory Booker to Legalize Marijuana Nationally By Punishing Prohibition States 1 of 2 800x400 Senator Cory Booker still wants to legalize marijuana nationally by punishing prohibition states

Above:  WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 10: U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) (3rd L) speaks during a news conference on medical marijuana as U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) (2nd L), U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) (3rd R), Kate Hintz (2nd R) and Morgan Hintz (R), who suffers from a rare form of epilepsy, look on Capitol Hill, on Capitol Hill, March 10, 2015 in Washington, DC. The news conference was held to announce a new medical marijuana bill before the U.S. Senate. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker put forward a bill that would legalize weed in the United States earlier this year and has been promoting it ever since. The legislation goes further than simple legalization by punishing states with racist policing practices. With the Republican-controlled Congress, this bill is a long shot with golden intentions.

The bill would totally remove weed for the controlled substances act, making it legal on a federal level. This has been the main goal for activists since marijuana prohibition first started. “This is an important step,” Booker said in a Facebook Live post, “But it is only a beginning.”

Other issues around legalization center around what to do with people who currently have weed related criminal records. Booker’s bill would expunge criminal records for people convicted of using or possessing marijuana, even if those charges stretch back decades.

“We need to remember that these are charges that follow people for their entire lives, and make it difficult for them to do things we take for granted,” Booker said.

Even if weed was legal federally, individual states could still elect to keep cannabis prohibited. A goal of the bill is address discrimination in drug enforcement.

In order to encourage hold-out states to legalize, Booker’s bill would withhold federal funding from states that arrest black people for weed crimes at higher rates than whites.

According to the ACLU, that includes every state in which weed is illegal.

The bill would also clear people who’ve served time for use and possession. “For people in prison right now on marijuana charges, it gives them an avenue to have their sentences reduced or eliminated,” Booker said.

Booker has political aspirations greater than the Senate. There’s a lot of buzz around Booker and a 2020 presidential campaign. So, this bill could be a way to build a base for a presidential run. While Booker’s plan may seem ambitious, the bill’s message aligns with the popular and political opinion. According to a 2017 Gallup poll, 64% of Americans think cannabis should be legal. For the first time in history, the majority (51%) of Republicans support legalization. Booker will likely receive major support from his own party with 72% of Democrats on board for legal weed.

Screen Shot 2017 10 25 at 7.45.55 AM 1 Senator Cory Booker still wants to legalize marijuana nationally by punishing prohibition statesCourtesy of Gallup

This move also distances Booker from Governor Chris Christie, the wildly unpopular wildebeest that currently represents New Jersey. Christie has promised to strike down legalization. Whatever office Booker is after, his bill certainly pushes him in the right direction.

Erik McLaren

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Zero Cosponsors: Artificial Intelligence Gives Marijuana Justice Act of 2017 Just 1% Chance

Don Fitch | October 4, 2017

The Marijuana Justice Act of 2017, introduced by New Jersey Democratic Senator Cory Booker, is exactly the criminal justice and health legislation this country so needs. Much like Bernie Sander’s bill in the last Congress, this act would not reschedule, but actually deschedule cannabis out of the Controlled Substance Act altogether. As its name implies, the passage of this act, S. 1689, would provide true marijuana justice in the USA. Tragically, it has received zero cosponsors in the Senate. An analysis by Skopos Lab artificial intelligence gives it only a 1% chance of being enacted.

The similar bill by Senator Bernie Sanders (D – Ver) in the last Congress likewise got no cosponsors, not even Cory Booker, and died. Similarly, neither Bernie Sanders nor any other senator has cosponsored the 2017 bill. A portion of GovTrack’s summary of S. 1689 follows:

The Marijuana Justice Act, introduced by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), would end the federal prohibition on marijuana once and for all, by removing the drug from the DEA’s list of controlled substances entirely.

It would also apply retroactively, allowing for judicial review of anybody serving a prison sentence for drug possession. (Although virtually nobody in America goes to jail just for marijuana possession or use, the charge is often used to add time to a jail sentence primarily handed down for conviction of another drug-related crime such as selling or trafficking.)

Lastly, the bill would use federal expenditures to incentive states to legalize the drug “if those laws were shown to have a disproportionate effect on low-income individuals and/or people of color.” As Vox points out, that designation applies to almost every state. Therefore, this bill would effectively authorize federal expenditures to support nationwide legalization at the state level as well.

It was introduced as Senate bill number S. 1689. (Unfortunately, S. 420 was already taken.)

A version of the bill introduced into the House of Representative by Thomas Garrett (R-Vir) is doing better. With 15 House cosponsors, H.R. 1227: Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017 is given a 9% chance of passage by Skopos Labs. The 15 cosponsors are cannabis freedom fighters. They are:

The Senate (and House) have seen other action on the marijuana front. Oregon Senator Ron Wyden introduced S. 780: Responsibly Addressing the Marijuana Policy Gap Act of 2017. This act would not deschedule cannabis but does provide legal protection in legal states. The bill has a counterpart in the House, Earl Blumenauer’s H.R. 1824, now with seven cosponsors.

If your Senators and Representatives are absent on these important bills, call them and urge they cosponsor.

Don Fitch

Don Fitch

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Interest in cannabis liberation extends back to the 1960s for Don Fitch. Most of his career has been in high tech and pr … More!

Why the Marijuana Justice Act legalizes marijuana the right way

MJA CB

By Jim Patterson, Opinion Contributor – 08/16/17 02:10 PM EDT

Earlier this month, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) introduced the Marijuana Justice Act. To some, this bill may look like another liberal attempt to push for widespread legalization of marijuana across the country. But for those of us who work in this industry and understand the complexities and inequities of current marijuana policies, the bill is a bold step forward in transforming the industry as we know it.

I recommend that anyone who questions why marijuana should no longer be illegal under federal law, take the time to watch Sen. Booker’s three-minute video explaining his legislation. It will shine a light on how marijuana policies have negatively impacted targeted communities, specifically low-income communities of color. This bill seeks to undo some of the damage that Booker aptly describes as, “the unjust application of the law and economic bias.” For example, the bill would expunge convictions for those with marijuana use and/or possession charges at the federal level which, in turn, will allow for greater access to education and economic opportunities.

As CEO of a company which works in the legal marijuana industry, it is a priority for me that this industry gives everyone a fair and equal playing field. On a daily basis, I meet and speak with entrepreneurs and investors who are interested in becoming a part of the marijuana industry because of its huge growth potential and opportunity.

However, with opportunity come risks, and in this industry we take financial, legal and professional risks. That said, there is a large segment of the population that is not at the table for these types of discussions because they were previously targeted during the war on drugs and now cannot fully participate in the state legal boom of this business.

For them, the risks are still too high under marijuana’s current federal classification as a Schedule I drug. The Marijuana Justice Act seeks to change this by taking steps to fix the system so that marijuana is not just legal, but that the industry as a whole can move forward in a direction that we can be proud of.

Additionally, this legislation is important because it would also address a number of challenges marijuana businesses face such as lack of access to ordinary banking services. It would also move towards regulating the marijuana market as a whole and by regulating legal access, it would discourage and replace illicit drug activity.

I applaud Booker for introducing thoughtful legislation that would legalize the industry in the “right” way and that truly has the ability to move the ball forward on some of the historically negative aspects of this industry. Now is the time for the federal government to acknowledge that marijuana should be legal and removed from the list of controlled substances.

A recent CBS News poll showed that 71 percent of Americans oppose the federal government’s efforts to stop marijuana sales and use in states that have legalized it, and 61 percent of Americans want marijuana legal across the country. Additionally, in the first six months of this new Congress, over a dozen bi-partisan bills have been introduced aimed at moving marijuana policies and regulations forward. Like Booker’s legislation, these bills acknowledge that updated marijuana laws and policies will bring a plethora of economic and social benefits to our country through increased job opportunities and tax revenues.

Congress must acknowledge the position of the majority of the American public and respond accordingly. I call on lawmakers to support this legislation and will be doing my part to raise this bill as a priority in the technology, transportation, policy and marijuana business communities eaze is a part of.

Jim Patterson is the CEO of eaze, a cannabis technology that connects people to doctors and dispensaries for on-demand consultations and deliveries.


The views expressed by this author are their own and are not the views of The Hill.

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With much gratitude from the USMjParty, Thank You, Sen. Booker!

THIS is what I’ve been praying for!

cory booker

Above:  Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) announces the “Marijuana Justice Act” live on Facebook, August 1, 2017.  Follow link to view video!

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Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) took a giant leap to the front of the legalize Marijuana train and did, in fact, introduce what I consider to be a genuine attempt at ending the failed drug war on all of our people.

The MARIJUANA JUSTICE ACT would correct the long-standing goals of the prison industrial complex.  It is asking to do the following:

*Remove Marijuana from the Controlled Substance Act at the Federal Level,

*Give incentive to States via Federal funds to discontinue prosecuting for Marijuana,

*Retroactive – to provide for a review of Marijuana sentences,

*Expunge – Federal Marijuana use and possession crimes,

*Create Community reinvestment through various programs,

“Descheduling marijuana and applying that change retroactively to people currently serving time for marijuana offenses is a necessary step in correcting this unjust system. States have so far led the way in reforming our criminal justice system and it’s about time the federal government catches up and begins to assert leadership.”

The legalize Marijuana movement has been gaining strength for a number of years now throughout the U.S., and when Attorney General Jeff Session announced his requiem of a failed (and inhumane) war on Marijuana it turned enough heads to say enough is enough!  We cannot continue to let our Government lock us in cages for no good reason. 

There has been numerous Bills introduced so far this year concerning Marijuana, according to GovTrack.us.  I am including a few of the links here for convenience.

H.R. 3534: To make the Controlled Substances Act inapplicable with respect to marihuana in States that have legalized marijuana and have in effect a statewide regulatory regime to protect certain Federal interests, and for other purposes.

H.R. 3391: To amend the Controlled Substances Act to make marijuana accessible for use by qualified marijuana researchers for medical purposes, and for other purposes.

H.R. 3252: Second Chance for Students Act

S. 1374: CARERS Act of 2017

H.R. 2920: CARERS Act of 2017

S. 1008: Therapeutic Hemp Medical Access Act of 2017

H.R. 2273: Charlotte’s Web Medical Access Act of 2017

H.R. 2020: To provide for the rescheduling of marijuana into schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act.

The only way to truly end the war on marijuana is to remove it from the CSA and then continue down through the individual States.  This is what Sen. Booker is trying to make happen with the Marijuana Justice Act and I certainly hope that everyone gets behind him on this most important endeavor.

Here is a link to his Twitter where you can send him a message to congratulate him on this awesome step his is taking!

We cannot continue to let our people die on rogue street drugs such as heroin and fentanyl because they have to pass a drug test for Marijuana.  End the madness now!  End the war on drugs!  REPEAL PROHIBITION!

https://www.facebook.com/corybooker/videos/10157111094132228/

https://www.scribd.com/document/355207910/Marijuana-Justice-Act-of-2017#user-util-view-profile

https://www.booker.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=638

https://twitter.com/SenBookerOffice?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/browse?text=marijuana#sort=-introduced_date

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/medical-marijuana-bill-aims-to-fight-sessions-war-on-drugs-w488311

http://www.wlky.com/article/sen-booker-introduce-marijuana-justice-act/10396905

https://kentuckymarijuanaparty.com/2017/07/23/the-children-left-behind/

https://kentuckymarijuanaparty.com/2017/07/11/dying-with-francis-and-learning-to-live-again/

https://kentuckymarijuanaparty.com/2015/09/24/all-roads-in-kentucky-lead-you-through-hell/

http://kyusmjparty.weebly.com/usmjparty-platform.html?fb_action_ids=10154004928797994&fb_action_types=og.comments

Senators introduce bill to end federal medical marijuana prohibition

Sessions asked Congress in May to allow the Justice Department to prosecute businesses and individuals in states with medical marijuana laws

Congress took a step toward easing its stance on medical marijuana on Thursday.

U.S. Sens. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Corey Booker (D-New Jersey) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) introduced a bill that would end the federal prohibition of medical marijuana and take steps to improve research.

The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States, or CARERS, Act would effectively change the Controlled Substances Act, allowing the possession, production and distribution of medical marijuana in states with established marijuana laws.

Twenty-nine states, as well as the District of Columbia, have already legalized marijuana, but the CARERS Act would prevent the federal government from prosecuting businesses and individuals in states where medical marijuana is legal, since federally marijuana is still illegal under the Controlled Substances Act.

“The reintroduction of the CARERS Act is the first of many steps we hope this Congress will take to end the federal prohibition of medical marijuana,” Don Murphy, director of conservative outreach for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement. “Polls show overwhelmingly strong support for medical marijuana, and it spans the political spectrum.

“The federal government should not be meddling in state laws that allow it or obstructing research into its many medical benefits.”

The introduction of the bill comes days after news that Attorney General Jeff Sessions wrote a letter to leaders of Congress asking that they undo protections for the industry under the Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment. That amendment, which is tied to the federal appropriations bill, prevents the Justice Department from using federal funds to enforce federal prohibition in states with legal marijuana laws.

Don’t miss: The marijuana industry could be worth $50 billion annually by 2026

The act, which was first introduced in 2015, would also allow doctors to recommend medical marijuana to veterans in states where its legal and it would give researchers more access to cannabis to conduct studies, which has been an issue in the industry.

Marijuana is made up of a multitude of cannabinoids — the two most prominent being tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). While THC is the main psychoactive component, researchers believe CBD has potential medical uses. The CARERS Act would remove CBD from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s list of Schedule I drugs, according to Leafly, which would allow states to import it.

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A new Senate bill maps out how weed will eventually become legal in the U.S.

Gillibrand, Booker, Paul

 

A trio of high-profile senators this week unveiled a package of drug reforms that would effectively end the federal war on medical marijuana once and for all. The bill, from Republican Rand Paul and Democrats Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand, wouldn’t legalize medical weed across the country, but it would remove the threat of federal prosecution for patients who use it in states where it is legal. It would also represent a federal acknowledgment of weed’s medicinal potential—something the U.S. government has repeatedly refused to concede since Richard Nixon launched the war on drugs in the 1970s.

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City.

The legislation is bipartisan, sound, and long overdue. Frustratingly albeit unsurprisingly, then, it is unlikely to make it very far in the current Congress, a reality even the nation’s chief weed advocates have readily admitted. Its short-term fate notwithstanding, though, the bill is a clear sign of just how quickly the drug debate is evolving in Washington—and may just foretell how nationwide legalization will eventually come to pass.

That Paul, Booker, and Gillibrand have teamed up on the bill is telling, and the good news for the pro-pot crowd comes in both the chicken-and-egg variety. On the one hand, as rising stars on the national stage, all three will have ample opportunity to further their cause—particularly Paul, who is expected to officially jump into the race for the GOP presidential nomination later this year. On the other, it’s unlikely that the trio would have made this a priority if they were the least bit nervous that their efforts would come back to bite them. And they have good reason to be confident in that regard: A majority of Americans back full-scale marijuana legalization, and even those who don’t tend to believe that it’s simply a matter of when, not if, the nation’s eight-decade-long prohibition of pot comes to an end.

Still, believing legalization is inevitable doesn’t make it so. The question, then, is how we get from the present—with Congress bullying Washington, D.C., officials in a bid to stop them from following the will of voters and making weed legal—to full, nationwide legalization?

The Senate legislation offers just such a road map. The bill’s most important provision would change how pot is classified under the Controlled Substances Act, the 1970 law that is the backbone of federal drug policy. Currently, the government labels marijuana a Schedule I drug, a classification that puts it in the same category as heroin, LSD, ecstasy, and a handful of other heavyweights. Those drugs, according to the federal definition, have “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” The Senate bill would drop weed to Schedule II, a classification for drugs that still have a significant potential for abuse, although less than their more restricted brethren. More importantly, the Schedule II classification is reserved for drugs with some medical benefits—things like methadone and Adderall—meaning placing pot in that category would be a de facto admission that weed does indeed have a role to play for some patients.

The path from legal medical weed to the recreational stuff isn’t as straight of a line, although the two are clearly connected.

It’s hard to overstate just how much that would change the way the federal government deals with pot. It would open the door wider for universities to research medical uses for marijuana without fear that Drug Enforcement Administration agents are seconds away from kicking down their doors, while also giving the green light to doctors at Veterans Affairs hospitals to prescribe medical marijuana to veterans. In many ways, the reclassification would represent the biggest change in the government’s attitude toward pot since Nixon decided that weed was what was fueling his counterculture critics. (Or, as he famously put it, “They’re all on drugs.”)

To date, 23 states, along with the District of Columbia, have legalized medical marijuana, siding with the medical consensus that cancer patients and others can benefit from marijuana use and against the federal ban that has always been more about politics than science. (Another 12 states, meanwhile, have legalized the limited use of low-THC, high-CBD pot for those with prescriptions.) A change in classification would be the first major domino to fall in the fight to end federal prohibition. Not only would it allow medical marijuana to more easily flourish in those states where it is already legal, it would also make other states where medical weed is not yet legal more likely to follow suit.

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When States Dare to Decide on Medical Marijuana

Three senators want to stop federal law enforcement from interfering with legal pot.

Conor Friedersdorf Mar 10 2015, 8:30 AM ET

 

 

Medical marijuana is legal in 23 states, but the drug remains illegal under federal law. Imagine a retired grandmother who is suffering terribly with a serious illness. Her doctor believes that marijuana might help. Her neighbors don’t mind if she fills a pot prescription: They overwhelmingly voted to give her that right. Sure enough, the woman finds that smoking weed lessens her suffering. Should the federal government be empowered to arrest her for consuming it?

Many in Congress think so. And while federal agents are unlikely to intervene in this sort of case because the optics would be so awful, the law allows for it.

But Senator Rand Paul, a Republican, and his Democratic colleagues, Senators Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand, hope a legislative majority will endorse a less-callous approach. Tuesday, they are introducing a bipartisan bill that would "allow patients, doctors and businesses in states that have already passed medical-marijuana laws to participate in those programs without fear of federal prosecution."

Exaggerated notions of the harmfulness of marijuana cannot survive in a society where cancer patients consume it.

The bill is expected to divide Republicans. Senator Paul, his colleague Ted Cruz, and Governor Rick Perry, among others, have some regard for the 10th Amendment, which states that "the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people." They also believe that states can act as laboratories of democracy: People in different regions can live under a system of their liking while acting as a model for other Americans as they weigh the best approach.

Other Republicans want the federal government to override the will of the people in various states. They argue that many people who get medical marijuana cards don’t really need the drug—it’s hardly unique among prescription medications in that sense—and they fear that the availability of medical marijuana will lead to full legalization, as it has in states including Colorado, Washington, and Oregon. They’re right to think so. Exaggerated notions of the harmfulness of marijuana cannot survive in a society where cancer patients consume it. And as exaggerated worries fade, support for prohibition plummets.

That isn’t because marijuana is harmless. Regular use is bad for one’s health. Some users become psychologically addicted. Long-term use carries unknown risks. There are prohibitionists who have a very clear understanding of the drug’s costs and benefits, and continue to staunchly oppose legalization of any kind. But most people who see the costs and benefits of marijuana clearly conclude that preventing other Americans from smoking it at the point of a gun is deeply immoral. Most people are unwilling to send SWAT teams into family homes, lock humans in cages, and enrich drug cartels all in the hopes that a War on Drugs that has failed for decades will improbably turn out to be successful in the end.

Tom Angell of Marijuana Majority, an advocacy group, sees this latest bill as evidence that popular opinion is influencing politicians. "The fact that two young Democrats with likely long political futures have teamed up with a probable 2016 Republican presidential candidate shows how medical marijuana is a nonpartisan, noncontroversial issue that draws support from across the spectrum," he wrote.

Roughly half of Americans now favor outright legalization of recreational marijuana. The day isn’t far off when public opinion will have shifted enough to bring about a bill to that effect at the national level. That various states are experimenting with medicinal and recreational marijuana leaves us better prepared for that moment. Enabling those experiments is a step in a responsible direction.

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