Legislation set to be unveiled TODAY would include a 5-percent tax on cannabis products.
House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York and California Sen. Kamala Harris, a 2020 White House hopeful, have come together on new legislation designed to address both sides of the equation. The legislation is likely to serve as a key marker heading into next year’s elections.
“Despite the legalization of marijuana in states across the country, those with criminal convictions for marijuana still face second class citizenship. Their vote, access to education, employment, and housing are all negatively impacted,” Nadler said in a statement. “Racially motivated enforcement of marijuana laws has disproportionally impacted communities of color.”
Among the provisions, individuals who have had income at 250 percent of the poverty line or below for at least half of the decade ahead of enactment could get many cannabis-related convictions expunged and the underlying records sealed at no cost to them.
“We need to start regulating marijuana, and expunge marijuana convictions from the records of millions of Americans so they can get on with their lives,” Harris, a former California attorney general, said in a statement.
“As marijuana becomes legal across the country, we must make sure everyone — especially communities of color that have been disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs — has a real opportunity to participate in this growing industry.
The legislation would also direct the DOJ to stand up a new cannabis justice office that would oversee services for people with past marijuana-related offenses, including job training and societal reentry programs, youth mentoring efforts, as well as legal aid operations to help enable the expungement of past convictions.