Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) on Tuesday introduced legislation to end the federal prohibition on marijuana and encourage states to legalize pot.
The legislation would amend the Controlled Substance Act to eliminate marijuana’s status as a Schedule 1 drug — a move that would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level.
It would also try to incentivize states to legalize marijuana if their current laws have a “disproportionate arrest rate” on minority or low-income individuals.
“Our country’s drug laws are badly broken and need to be fixed,” Booker said in a statement. “They don’t make our communities any safer.”
If the attorney general, coordinating with the director of Bureau of Justice Assistance, determines a state’s laws are disproportionally penalizing, a state would not eligible for federal funding for constructing or staffing jails under the measure.
Booker added that the retroactive changes to individuals still serving 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,” he said.