New Congressional Resolution Calls For Marijuana Legalization and Drug Expungements

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) released a congressional resolution on Thursday that calls for fundamental reshaping of the criminal justice system, in part by legalizing marijuana and expunging all drug-related convictions.
The congresswoman’s “People Justice Guarantee” resolution outlines ” a bold new version for justice in tge American criminal legal system” that’s designed to transform the U.S. criminal legal system to one that meets America’s foundational yet unfilled promise for all.”
The ultimate goal of the measure is to reduce mass incarceration in the country through a series of reform steps that includes ending for-profit prisons, decriminalizing certain non-violent offenses, imposing caps on criminal sentences, abolishing the death penalty, expanding access to mental health services in prisons, and reinvesting in communities that have been most impacted by “tough on crime” criminal policies.
Some have characterized the resolution as the “Green New Deal” of criminal justice reform., comparable in scope and ambition to the climate change plan championed by fellow “squad” member Rep. Alexamdria Osasio-Cortez (D-NY).
Drug policy reform isn’t the main feature of the resolution, but it does call for “decriminalizing addiction, homelessness, poverty, HIV status, and disabilities, including mental health diagnosis. By legalizing marijuana and overdose prevention sites, declining to criminally prosecute low-level offenses such as loitering and theft of necessity goods, and expunging the records of individuals for all drug-related offenses.”
It’s not clear in the final resolution would involve all drug possession offenses; or why pressley apparently decided to scale back the scope of the measure from the draft her staff circulated to reporters. Marijuana Moment reached out to the congresswoman’s office for clarification but a representative was not immediately available.
The ACLU, color of change and National Immigrant Law Center are among several civil rights groups that have endorsed the resolution; which was created in concert with advocates from the National Immigrant Law Center. Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Immigrant defense Project, UndocuBlack Network and others.
Pressley says “you cannot have a government for and by the people. For far too long, these closest to the pain have not been closest to the power, resulting in a racist, xenophobic, rogue, fundamentally flawed legal system.”
The people’s guarantee is the product of a symbiotic partnership with over 20 grassroots organizations and people impacted by the discriminatory policies of our legal system,” she said. “Our tesolution calls for a bold transformation of the status quo, devoted to dismantling injustices so that the system is smaller, safer, less punitive, and more humane.”

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