The bill would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, place a federal tax on the sale of marijuana and erase nonviolent marijuana convictions from peoples’ criminal records.
Booker, chairman of the subcommittee and the only Black senator on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said that the federal criminalization of cannabis has “miserably failed” and has led to a “festering injustice” of selectively enforced drug laws disproportionately targeting Black and brown communities.
Nationally, according to a 2020 report by the ACLU, a Black person is nearly four times more likely to be arrested for possession of marijuana than a white person, despite the fact that marijuana use is equally common among racial groups. “Cannabis laws are unevenly enforced and devastate the lives of those most vulnerable,” Booker said during the Tuesday hearing. The bill would expunge criminal records for federal marijuana charges and allow for people currently in federal prison for a nonviolent marijuana crime to request resentencing.