U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ)
is proposing a far-reaching bill that would both legalize marijuana at the federal level and encourage states to legalize it locally through incentives.
Federal legalization is unquestionably the right policy. The bill does go farther than necessary by
[withholding] federal money for building jails and prisons, along with other funds, from states whose cannabis laws are shown to disproportionately incarcerate minorities.
If federal law legalizes, state prohibitions become irrelevant given that state borders are porous. Eight states have already legalized, and competition for marijuana tax revenues will drive most others to follow suit once federal prohibition is gone.
The New Jersey Democrat’s bill, called the Marijuana Justice Act, has virtually no chance of passage in the Republican-controlled Congress and in a presidential administration that’s decidedly anti-marijuana.
Nevertheless, Booker gets three cheers for trying.