Democrats Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) continue to push hard for cannabis policy reform.
“With a majority of Americans on both sides of the aisle in support of legalization, we know that this has opportunities,” said Booker in a pre-recorded video at the Cannabis Opportunities Conference. He added that there is hope for policy change considering state and nationwide support for marijuana legalization, reported Marijuana Moment. “We need, though, to continue to evolve our focus, vision, and strategies to make sure that economically, socially—and especially within our criminal justice system—we are expanding fairness, equality and opportunity.”
The event’s policy summit was led by PA State Sen. Sharif Street (D).
Booker, Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) introduced the outline of the Cannabis Administration & Opportunity Act (CAOA) in July 2021. The proposal seeks to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), expunging prior convictions and allowing people serving time for applicable crimes to petition for resentencing.
As marijuana policy reform picks up steam across the country, Booker is urging the federal government to get with the program, especially in terms of equity.
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“This legalization movement has really got to continue to focus on removing barriers to justice for marginalized communities,” he said. “This movement has got to be about expanding economic opportunities and democratizing those opportunities well. This movement has to be about not allowing us, in any way, to move backward, but continuing to take strides forward towards justice.”
Fetterman Continues To Push For Reform
To that end, Fetterman, a longtime cannabis advocate, talked about expungement — a “one-time, large-scale pardon effort” from Gov. Tom Wolf and Fetterman, who chairs the state Board of Pardons. Under the program that got underway earlier this month, Pennsylvanians convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana can apply to get their records cleared.
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“Pennsylvania is a place for second chances,” Fetterman said, adding that the joint effort “will help people get pardons quickly for stupid weed convictions.”
Fetterman, who is running for a Senate seat, recently urged President Biden to deschedule marijuana from a Schedule I drug and work to decriminalize it. Shortly after, Fetterman and the President crossed paths in Pittsburgh and discussed potential changes to the status of cannabis under the CSA prior to Biden’s Labor Day at a union hall.
This article originally appeared on Benzinga and has been reposted with permission.