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In the 115th Congress, there are more cannabis reform bills than ever before — dozens, as a matter of fact! Let’s take a closer look at one of the newest reform bills that was just introduced last week.
Bill: The Clean Slate Act
Introduced by: Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE)
Original Cosponsors: Reps. Dwight Evans (D-PA), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Bobby Rush (D-IL), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Robin Kelly (D-IL), Danny Davis (D-IL), Lacy Clay (D-MO), David Scott (D-GA), Al Green (D-TX), Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Eddie Bernice Jackson (D-TX), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Yvette Clark (D-NY), Anthony Brown (D-MD), Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), Andre Carson (D-IN), Marcia Fudge (D-OH), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), and Donald Payne Jr (D-NJ)
What It Does: This bill gives an order to the court to be carried out at the time of sentencing. At that time, the court will enter an order that each criminal record that either relates to Section 404 of the Controlled Substances Act or any Federal, non-violent offense involving marijuana shall be sealed automatically one year after the individual fulfills their sentence. That means that exactly one year after someone has “done their time” or fulfilled the expectations laid out in their sentencing, that their record is automatically expunged of the crime. According to the ACLU, 52% of all drug arrests are for marijuana. Not only that, but of the 8.2 million marijuana arrests between 2001 and 2010, 88% were for simply having marijuana. Combine that with the fact that despite roughly equal usage rates, African-Americans are 3.73 times more likely than their white counterparts to be arrested for marijuana and you have a recipe for disaster. For all of those reasons, the Clean Slate Act is long overdue and should be enacted.
What To Expect: Now that the bill has been introduced, NCIA will continue to gather cosponsors for the legislation, as well as advocate for a hearing. With the House of Representatives currently away for August recess and midterm elections in November (register to vote here), timing will be of the essence.