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Rep. 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 January 12, 2018

    Representative Barbara Lee

    Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Don Young (R-AK today filed a resolution, HR 4779, known as The RE.F.E.R. Act, prohibiting the federal government from taking punitive action against those operating in states where the use and distribution of marijuana is legal.

    NORML is pleased to have worked with Rep. Lee’s office in drafting the language of HR 4779, which “protects individuals in states that have laws which permit the use of cannabis” for either medical or recreational purposes. Specifically, HR 4779 bars federal funding for any efforts that seek to “detain, prosecute, sentence, or initiate civil proceedings against an individual, business or property that is involved in the cultivation, distribution, possession, dispensation, or the use of cannabis in accordance with the law or regulation of the state or unit of local government in which the individual is located.”

    “The federal government should respect the will of the voters in states that have voted to decriminalize cannabis. It’s time to stop wasting taxpayer money on the failed War on Drugs,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee. “I’m proud to introduce the REFER Act, which would prevent the Attorney General and others in the Trump Administration from stifling the budding cannabis industry. If the federal government chooses to interfere in these state matters, it’s up to Congress to prevent this harmful overreach.”

    It also prohibits the federal government from taking any punitive action against a financial institution “solely because the institution provides financial services to an entity” that is involved in state-sanctioned marijuana-related activities.

    Take action today to tell Congress to support HR 4779!

    With the Justice Department having rescinded Obama-era directives limiting the federal government’s involvement in marijuana states, and with the future of the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment uncertain, it is pivotal that you urge your elected officials to act on HR 4779.