First-Ever Congressional Bill To Decriminalize All Drugs Announced Ahead Of Nixon Drug War Anniversary

MJ moment

A first-ever bill to federally decriminalize possession of all currently illicit drugs—and incentivize states to follow suit—is being introduced in Congress. The measure, which will be filed later this week, is timed to coincide with the 50-year anniversary of President Richard Nixon’s declaration of a war on drugs that has contributed to mass incarceration, disproportionately impacted communities of color and created collateral consequences for countless Americans who have been criminalized for possessing certain psychoactive substances. Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) and Cori Bush (D-MO) are sponsoring the legislation, which aims to promote a public health- and evidence-based approach to substance misuse. The bill is titled the Drug Policy Reform Act (DPRA) and was drafted in partnership with the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). The proposal would end the threat of incarceration for people caught possessing drugs for personal use. Courts would still have the option of imposing a fine, but that could be waived if a person couldn’t afford it. Importantly, the measure would make it so the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)—rather than the Justice Department—would be responsible for classifying drugs, with the intent being to shift that role to a health-centric model. Our approach until now has not been to help sick people with treatment and counseling, but to throw them in jail. Along the way, we’ve seen millions get swept up in a criminal justice system that completely derails their lives and those of their families. — Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (@RepBonnie) June 15, 2021 Federal district courts would be required to facilitate expungements and record sealing for those with qualifying convictions within one year of the bill’s enactment. Almost half of the federal prison population is currently serving time over drug-related offenses—a much smaller percentage of which is for possession alone—and so the direct…

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Source : First-Ever Congressional Bill To Decriminalize All Drugs Announced Ahead Of Nixon Drug War Anniversary

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