Jul 23, 2019

Kamala Harris introduces bill to decriminalize marijuana

Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) speaks at the National Forum on Wages and Working People: Creating an Economy That Works for All at Enclave on April 27

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris introduced a bill with House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler on Tuesday to decriminalize marijuana at a federal level and expunge low-level marijuana possession convictions.

"Times have changed — marijuana should not be a crime. 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."
— Sen. Kamala Harris statement

The big picture: The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act focuses on criminal and social justice reforms, removing marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and introducing a 5% tax to go toward grants for minorities and low-income communities.

  • Nadler said in a joint statement with Harris that as states legalize marijuana, those with criminal convictions for the drug still face "second class citizenship."
"Racially motivated enforcement of marijuana laws has disproportionally impacted communities of color. It’s past time to right this wrong nationwide."

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