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Cory Booker Bill Would Legalize Pot Across US

Senator introduces Marijuana Justice Act, and several fellow 2020 candidates are on board
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 28, 2019 6:40 PM CST
2020 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker speaks at an event Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, in North Las Vegas, Nev.   (AP Photo/John Locher)

(Newser) – Those who back the legalization of marijuana should be cheered by this development: A major candidate for president just introduced a bill to make the drug legal on the federal level—and several of his fellow candidates are on board. New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker introduced the Marijuana Justice Act, which would remove marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances, reports CNBC. Fellow senators/candidates Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, and Kirsten Gillibrand signed on as co-sponsors. A companion bill was introduced in the House by California Reps. Ro Khanna and Barbara Lee, reports the Hill.

In a series of tweets, Booker said part of his rationale is to correct what he sees as the injustice of marijuana convictions. Such a conviction "is often a life sentence—people can’t get jobs or many business licenses, and they can’t get food assistance like SNAP or public housing if it's a felony," he wrote. The bill would expunge previous federal convictions. Booker actually introduced the measure previously, in 2017, but it was never taken up for a vote. It's not clear whether things will be different this time around, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said last May he had no plans to back legalization. (Read more Cory Booker stories.)

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