United States Senator Cory Booker isn’t alone in his fight against the war on marijuana. His legislation to terminate the federal ban on cannabis has the support of the Drug Policy Alliance, a pro-marijuana advocacy group whose honorary board members include big names such as Joycelyn Elders former Surgeon General, and ex- Secretary of State George Shultz.
The group plans to meet with members of Congress and express the need of their support for the legislation, according to Queen Adesuyi, a policy associate. “Marijuana legislation would get communities of color and low-income communities in a better place,” Adesuyi stated. “Legalization is not a cure but it definitely moves us in a better direction than we are now.”
Booker’s efforts are being challenged by Smart Approaches to Marijuana, an anti-legalization group whose advisers consist of former Rep. Patrick Kennedy, who currently sits on the presidential opioid commission headed by Gov. Chris Christie and by Colorado Christian University’s Centennial Institute, which initiated an online petition to fight legalization. “Senator Booker is much smarter than this,” quoted Kevin Sabet, president and chief executive of Smart Approaches to Marijuana. “We were very disappointed that he did not consult with us.”
When the legislation was introduced, Booker stated that blacks were almost four times more likely to be arrested than whites for cannabis use, despite both races using the drug at the same rate.
“The deeply-entrenched interests who want to keep the status quo are advocating for a system that continues to arrest blacks, Latinos and the poor for marijuana at highly disproportionate rates,” Booker spokeswoman Kristin Lynch reported.
“You don’t need to support marijuana use to recognize that prohibition isn’t working, and is making our justice system far less just,” she added.
Adesuyi said the status quo isn’t working and the current law needs to be revised.
“It affects generations of people,” she concluded. “It affects families. It puts people who are low-income in hard positions because of fines and fees. And this is a drug that eight states have determined is perfectly fine to sell for recreational use.”