On November 9, Representative Barbara Lee (D) of California’s 13th Congressional district (“the wokest district in the nation!” as she called it) addressed the 2019 Reform conference in St. Louis, Missouri by video (which you can watch above, or here). Following an earlier message shared by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rep. Lee urged the 1,200 gathered delegates to unite and end the War on Drugs.
“We all know that the federal prohibition on marijuana has led to over-criminalization and mass incarceration, especially in Black and Brown communities,” Lee said. “It’s why we need to ensure that as the cannabis movement marches forward, it does so hand-in-hand with efforts to address these racial inequities head-on.”
Earlier that day, a panel of cannabis advocates at the conference had debated just how to create racial justice in the legal cannabis industry.
Lee highlighted her work with Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) to introduce the Marijuana Justice Act (HR.1456). Besides legalizing cannabis, the bill would provide for expungement and re-sentencing of certain cannabis convictions. It would also creates an $11 billion community reinvestment fund to support job training, community centers and other services in areas and ciommunities most harmed by the War on Drugs.
“It’s ground-breaking legislation that would legalize marijuana at the federal level and repair some of the harm from the failed and racist war on drugs,” Lee declared. “If we do this right by ensuring we address the legacy of the failed War on Drugs, and center our work on restorative justice, there is no stopping us!”