It’s starting to seem more and more like Democrats are finally ready to fully back marijuana legalization.
Back in August, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced a bill that would effectively legalize marijuana and expunge criminal records for people who were charged with marijuana crimes. On Wednesday, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) announced she would co-sponsor the bill, which means it now has a better chance of getting a vote.
“Millions of Americans’ lives have been devastated because of our broken marijuana policies, especially in communities of color and low-income communities,” Gillibrand said in a statement. “Just one minor possession conviction could take away a lifetime of opportunities for jobs, education, and housing, tear families apart, and make people more vulnerable to serving time in jail or prison down the road.”
The reason this is so significant is Booker and Gillibrand are seen as leading presidential candidates for the 2020 election and leaders generally within the Democratic Party. If these two mainstream senators are willing to jump on the legalization train, it seems likely more Democrats will soon follow suit.
Though Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) supports legalization and introduced a very similar bill in 2015, he has not become a co-sponsor yet, but it’s quite possible he will. Sanders received a lot of support from the marijuana community because of his support for legalization during the 2016 campaign, so advocates are hoping he’ll help get this bill to a vote.
Another Democrat in the Senate who fully supports legalization is Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR). It seems quite possible he could become a co-sponsor of this bill now. Many are saying Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ opposition to legalization and his seeming intentions to crack down on states that have legalized have galvanized Democrats, and some Republicans, and actually increased the speed at which the United States might legalize.
Gillibrand signing on is a big deal, and we’ll have to see who lends their support to this bill next. The above names seem most likely to me, but it’s clear this kind of move is appearing less and less risky to Democrats.
Source: The 420 Times
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