Congresswoman Barbara Lee

  • by Representative Barbara Lee February 28, 2019
    Congresswoman Barbara Lee represents California’s 13th district

    First off, I want to thank you for being an active member of the cannabis reform movement and I am proud to tell you that we have never been closer to ending the counterproductive and cruel policy of marijuana criminalization than we are right now.

    Today, I introduced the Marijuana Justice Act of 2019 and I have every intention of moving the bill forward, but I need your help.

    Will you tell your member of Congress to join me as a cosponsor of the Marijuana Justice Act?

    The prohibition of marijuana has had a devastating effect on communities of color. Although whites and blacks have been found to use marijuana at similar rates, a 2013 report by the ACLU found that a “black person is 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white person.” As a result, low-income communities and communities of color have been subject to mass-criminalization and mass incarceration.

    We can stop this. The Marijuana Justice Act would deschedule marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and seek to correct these racial disparities in arrests and sentencing. Further, it mandates that all records of federal possession convictions are expunged and resources be made available to local units of government to assist in the expungement of prior state and local convictions.

    If this is important to you, then contact your member of Congress and tell them to cosponsor The Marijuana Justice Act now.

    In addition to incentivizing states to legalize marijuana, the Marijuana Justice Act seeks to repair some of the damage marijuana prohibition has done to this country’s most vulnerable communities. For those communities that have been economically and socially disenfranchised by overcriminalization and cyclical incarceration, this legislation provides funding to programs focused on youth development, citizen re-entry, job training, health education, and funding for community resources such as public libraries and community centers.

    Members of Congress must not turn their backs on the millions of Americans nationwide who rely on access to marijuana for their health, wellness, and liberty. According to recently released nationwide survey data, a supermajority of Americans strongly support patients’ access to medical marijuana and oppose federal interference in these matters. A recent poll shows that 93 percent of Americans support the medical use of marijuana, and a poll conducted by the Center for American Progress found American voter support of legalized marijuana is at an all-time high, with 68% of respondents indicating their support. Perhaps most importantly, the poll shows a majority of voters in both major political parties and independents now believe that marijuana should be legal, with the most dramatic jump in support observed in Republican respondents.

    Send a message to your Representative in support of the Marijuana Justice Act now!

    In the last session of Congress, 10% of the membership of the House of Representatives were co-sponsors of this bill, a historic level of support. By adding your voice to the growing chorus of calls for reform from around the country, we can finally end marijuana prohibition once and for all in a way that provides justice to those who were most harmed.

    Thank You,
    Barbara Lee

    Representative Barbara Lee

  • by Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director June 14, 2018

    Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee introduced The “RESPECT Resolution: Realizing Equitable & Sustainable Participation in Emerging Cannabis Trades” to elevate the importance of equity within the legal cannabis marketplace. The RESPECT Resolution seeks both economic and reparative justice, ensuring that disenfranchised communities will be able to benefit equally in the emerging legal and regulated industry.

    “There’s no question that there is growing momentum – both within Congress and nationwide – for cannabis legalization. However, as we move into this new era, we must learn from the failed War on Drugs and ensure that entrepreneurs of color are included in this expanding industry. Due to unequal criminalization rates and disparities in access to capital, people of color are being locked out of the new and thriving legal cannabis trade,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee. “We need to address the systemic exclusion and discrimination at play. Otherwise, we will be prolonging and encouraging the injustices of the past – where brown men spend their lives in prison for cannabis, while white communities get rich off the industry. I encourage my colleagues to support the RESPECT Resolution, the first bill in Congress focused on building equity in the cannabis industry.”

    As more and more states dial back the war on marijuana consumers, it is important that those who were impacted by this oppressive criminalization are able to see previous harms remedied and be provided the opportunity to participate in the benefits that come along with legalization and regulation.

    It is absolutely crucial that future legalization efforts include avenues to expunge prior criminal convictions for actions which are now 100% legal. We sincerely appreciate Congresswoman Lee’s vision to facilitate those expungements at no cost to the individual. Currently, a complicated bureaucracy and unnecessary fees often prevent drug war victims from obtaining expungements and being able to fully participate in many aspects of civil society.

    Send a message to your Representative now in support of The RESPECT Resolution.