California Sen. Kamala Harris announced Thursday she is going to co-sponsor the Marijuana Justice Act, a bill that would legalize marijuana federally.
The bill was originally introduced last August by New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.
Making marijuana legal at the federal level is the smart thing to do and it’s the right thing to do. Today, I’m announcing my support for @CoryBooker’s Marijuana Justice Act. pic.twitter.com/cOh3SjMaOW
— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) May 10, 2018
This legislation would remove marijuana’s status as a Schedule 1 narcotic under the Controlled Substance Act. It would also require federal courts to expunge Americans’ records who have previous marijuana possession-based convictions.
Harris made the announcement through a NowThis video that she tweeted. “It’s the right thing to do. I just look at what we want as a country and where we need to be instead of where we’ve been.”
She later added, “The fact is that marijuana laws are not applied and enforced in the same way for all people. So for example, African Americans use marijuana at roughly the same rate as whites but are approximately four times more likely to be arrested for possession.”
Two other senators have also announced they would co-sponsor the bill – Kirsten Gillibrand from New York, and Bernie Sanders from Vermont.
All four senators are democrats and are considered potential presidential nominations for 2020.
Currently nine states and the nation’s capital have legalized marijuana recreationally for those over the age of 21. According to Vox, 13 states have decriminalized the drug, which limits maximum punishments for small infractions. When people in Michigan go to the polls for the midterm elections in November, they will also be voting on whether or not they should legalize marijuana.