Dem senator introducing bill to legalize marijuana

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) is introducing legislation to end the federal prohibition on marijuana and encourage states to legalize pot.

The legislation, which Booker will formally roll out later Tuesday during a Facebook event, would amend the Controlled Substance Act to eliminate marijuana's status as a Schedule 1 drug — a move that would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level.

It would also try to incentivize states to legalize marijuana if their current laws have a "disproportionate arrest rate" on minority or low-income individuals.

If the attorney general, coordinating with the director of Bureau of Justice Assistance, determines a state's laws are disproportionally penalizing, a state would not eligible for federal funding for constructing or staffing jails under the measure.

The bill would take any funds not given to penalized states to help create a "Community Reinvestment Fund" that would go to "communities most affected by the war on drugs" for job training, youth programs and community centers.

Booker's legislation would also be retroactive and require federal courts to expunge previous marijuana-related convictions. Individuals still in jail could petition to get their sentence shortened to comply with Booker's bill.

Booker's bill is unlikely to be passed through Congress. A similar 2015 bill from Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDems express interest in working with GOP on bipartisan tax reform Conservative watchdog group calls for ethics probe of Wasserman Schultz OPINION | There's no 'bipartisan' solution to the ObamaCare debacle MORE (I-Vt.) gained no cosponsors and stalled in the Judiciary Committee.

The Trump administration is signaling it will take a tough line on marijuana.

Attorney General Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsDems call on Trump to defend DACA McConnell faces questions, but no test to his leadership White House downplays idea of Sessions move to Homeland Security MORE wrote to lawmakers earlier this year asking them not to block the Department of Justice from using funds to enforce federal marijuana laws.

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