Cory Booker Tells Biden Nominee That Marijuana Convictions Shouldn’t Disqualify People From Federal Aid

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President Joe Biden’s nominee to run the Small Business Administration (SBA) recently committed to “explore” ways the agency could change its policy on prohibiting people with certain criminal convictions—including over marijuana—from accessing federal business loans and other services. Isabel Guzman, who currently heads California’s Office of the Small Business Advocate, was pressed on the federal agency’s policies for people with prior convictions, particularly when it comes to cannabis crimes, by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) during a confirmation hearing this month. The senator noted the high number of marijuana arrests in the U.S. and said that “those people with criminal convictions for doing things that two of the last four presidents admitted to doing will be excluded from a lot of the loan programs that we’ve seen” under SBA. That includes the Payment Protection Program (PPP) and other financing services. “I just want to put a finer point on what I’m looking for, which is just—you can do it with a stroke of a pen. You can empower folks. And you know marijuana laws are disproportionately enforced against who?” Booker said. “People of color,” Guzman answered. “People of color. We literally have college kids, with impunity, smoking pot—but people who are black and brown are four times more likely even though their usage rates are no different. That ultimately affects…40,000 collateral consequences. That is one of the reasons why there’s such a wealth disparity between communities of color because they’re over-policed and over-convicted for things that are just unjust.” Watch Booker and Guzman talk about SBA marijuana policy below:  The senator said that he’s “really hoping, with a sweep of the pen, that you would change this,” adding that, based on his work with Vice President Kamala Harris during her time in the Senate and conversations with Biden, he knows “where…

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Source : Cory Booker Tells Biden Nominee That Marijuana Convictions Shouldn’t Disqualify People From Federal Aid

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