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One of the most relevant and talked-about issues of our political climate is the legalization of marijuana. In recent years, there has been a big push for its legalization for medicinal uses as research has shown that it can have a plethora of benefits. And because of these evident benefits, 29 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes. Eight of those states have additionally legalized the recreational use of marijuana. It seems that with every few years, a new handful of states have joined the pro-pot party. And now, the federal government has the opportunity to join in on the fun.

On Tuesday, August 2, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) will introduce the Marijuana Justice Act (MJA). This legislation will remove marijuana from the controlled substances list at the federal level. However, it could still be considered a prohibited substance on the state level. The MJA, though, will award federal funds to states that change their laws if there are currently disproportional drug charges for people of color and minorities. In addition, Booker plans for the MJA to allow those in prison for marijuana use and possession to petition for resentencing, which could be a benefit to the issue of overcrowded prisons.

“Our country’s drug laws are badly broken and need to be fixed,” Booker said in a statement. “They don’t make our communities any safer – instead they divert critical resources from fighting violent crimes, tear families apart, unfairly impact low-income communities and communities of color, and waste billions in taxpayer dollars each year.”

This is a progressive move by Booker that will definitely shake things up in Congress. There’s no way to tell if this bill will ever be passed, but there’s no doubt that it’s a step forward in the fight for legalization. As for Booker, we might be seeing more of him in the near future with speculation that he will be running for president in 2020.

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Alex Brown
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Alex Brown is a senior in high school from a small town in Kentucky. He has been a staff writer for Affinity since October of 2015 and senior editor since July of 2016. You can follow him on Twitter: @_alexb12 and Instagram: @alex.brown

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