The ongoing discussion about marijuana legalization has gained great momentum and now must include vital justice considerations. As the process of decriminalizing marijuana cultivation, use, and possession gains public acceptance, the scope of the discourse must widen to include racial and social justice reforms. These issues are critical for understanding in the mixed progress of legalization, the efficacy and impact of enforcement trends, and ongoing requirements for regulatory design and social equity gains.
Cory Booker, US Senator from the state of New Jersey, is the author of the Marijuana Justice Act and has spoken repeatedly about the need for states to consider criminal justice reforms alongside medical and recreational marijuana legalization campaigns. As states legalize future marijuana possession, use, and distribution but do not consider corrective action for people with previous criminal convictions they create an unjust and unfair double standard where legalization benefits one set of citizens and does not alleviate what Senator Booker refers to as “collateral consequences” that seriously impair another set.