Presidential hopeful Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) and House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) are combining forces to try and decriminalize marijuana at the federal level.
The two introduced a new bill called the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act on Tuesday, that would expunge marijuana-based convictions and also use tax revenue to help create trust funds for communities impacted by the War on Drugs.
“Times have changed—marijuana should not be a crime,” said Harris.
She added, “We need to start regulating marijuana, and expunge marijuana convictions from the records of millions of Americans so they can get on with their lives. As marijuana becomes legal across the country, we must make sure everyone—especially communities of color that have been disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs—has a real opportunity to participate in this growing industry.”
The bill already has the support of the Drug Policy Alliance, the ACLU and the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).
“Despite the legalization of marijuana in states across the country, those with criminal convictions for marijuana still face second class citizenship. Their vote, access to education, employment, and housing are all negatively impacted,” Nadler stated. “Racially motivated enforcement of marijuana laws has disproportionately impacted communities of color. It’s past time to right this wrong nationwide and work to view marijuana use as an issue of personal choice and public health, not criminal behavior.”