Though marijuana was legalized — for medical use — in more than half the nation, it stays outlawed by the national government, which considers cannabis on a level with heroin. First-term Congresswoman Ilhan Omar of Minnesota said Saturday morning that she considers it is time to get the U.S. to not only legalize pot on a national basis, but to retroactively apparent the criminal records of those formerly detained on marijuana charges.
“Cannabis criminalization disproportionately impacts communities of color,” wrote Omar on Twitter last Saturday morning. “We have to finally legalize cannabis nationally and expunge records for those incarcerated for cannabis-related offenses.”
ACLU research discovered that, between 2001 and 2010, black people were four times more likely to be detained on marijuana-related fees than whites, despite the fact that cannabis was used by exactly the same percentage of individuals in racial demographic.
Marijuana Still Considered As A Schedule 1 Drug
Even if all 50 states were to legalize recreational use, its continued status as a Schedule I drug in the federal level would mean that the Drug Enforcement Administration could arrest individuals and shutter businesses for violating national law.
For several years, Congress has effectively barred the DEA from intervening in states that had legalized medical marijuana, such as stipulations in government financing bills that temporarily prohibited the Justice Department from using any congressionally appropriated funds to prevent these states from “implementing their particular laws that authorize the usage, supply, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.”
In 2017, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, an outspoken opponent of bud, composed to Congress, unsuccessfully asking for lawmakers to end this prohibition and allow the DEA go following state-legalized bud operations.
“I feel it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the Department to finance particular prosecutions, particularly in the middle of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent offense,” read the letter. “The Department has to be in a position to use all laws accessible to fight the transnational drug associations and harmful drug traffickers who threaten American lives.”
Marijuana Laws And The Upcoming 2020 Elections
Expect legalization to be a subject of discussion throughout the 2020 presidential effort. Virtually all of the present Democratic nominees either publicly support legalization at the federal level or believe the federal government should not interfere in states where the drug was legalized. Some, including Senator Cory Booker, have introduced or backed legislation meant to legalize pot nationwide.
His subsequent pruning of William Barr to substitute Sessions did little to alleviate these concerns. At a recent hearing before the Senate, Barr testified he had been in favor of a national law prohibiting pot nationwide.
“Personally, I’d still prefer one uniform federal rule against marijuana,” Barr said during the hearing. “But if there isn’t sufficient consensus to acquire this then I feel that the best way to move is to allow a more federal strategy so states can, you know, make their own conclusions within the framework of the national law. So we’re not just dismissing the enforcement of national law.”