Earlier last year, Sen. Corey Booker (D-NJ) introduced legislation that would not only legalize marijuana but also expunge past marijuana-related convictions and "penalize states with racially disparate arrest or incarceration rates for marijuana-related crimes." According to The Washington Post:
[Booker's bill] would withhold some criminal justice funding from states that haven't legalized marijuana if they exhibit racially disproportionate arrest or incarceration rates. In effect, this would apply to each state in which marijuana is not currently legal: A 2013 ACLU report found that nationwide, blacks were nearly four times as likely to be arrested on marijuana charges as whites, despite similar rates of use of the drug. Booker's legislation would effectively encourage states to legalize marijuana to avoid these penalties.
While the bill won't pass in a Republican-controlled Senate, it symbolizes a strong step forward in the fight to legalize marijuana.
But U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has spoken publicly about his opposition to marijuana and marijuana legalization. Sessions claims marijuana is nearly as dangerous as heroin, and says “there’s more violence around marijuana than one would think.”
"Our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs will destroy your life."
Sessions and his supporters agree that the goal should always be to reduce drug use in society, not encourage it. He recently sent a memo in which he urged prosecutors to seek the death penalty for drug traffickers.
Canada just legalized cannabis nationwide, and decriminalization advocates say the United States needs to follow suit. The opportunities for medical solutions and the revitalization of our economy are simply too great to pass up.
But even in states like New Jersey and California where cannabis business is legal, individual towns and townships have banded together to ban cannabis sales within their boundaries. Many civic leaders and citizens simply don't want dispensaries or marijuana in their towns.