Area lawmaker applauds Biden’s moves toward decriminalizing marijuana

Jehan Gordon Booth
Jehan Gordon Booth(WEEK)
Published: Oct. 6, 2022 at 10:06 PM CDT
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PEORIA (25 News Now) - A state lawmaker from Peoria believes President Biden has taken a significant step toward reversing misguided marijuana laws that disproportionately harmed minorities.

Biden on Thursday pardoned thousands of people convicted of “simple” marijuana possession in the District of Columbia, and called on governors to issue pardons for those found guilty of similar marijuana offenses on the state level.

One of the leaders of decriminalization efforts in Illinois, State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria), issued a statement praising the president’s actions.

She said too many people and broken families know America’s War on Drugs has been a failure.

“It is up to each of us to have the courage and humanity to do something about it, and today’s announcement is a significant step forward,” Gordon-Booth said.

“Black and Brown people have been disproportionately arrested and jailed for cannabis possession, creating lifelong barriers to essential resources including housing, employment opportunities and education access,” she said.

“The announced federal pardon will immediately help thousands of individuals, and states should immediately follow suit,” said Gordon-Booth, who’s Assistant House Majority Leader.

She also favors Biden’s review marijuana’s classification under federal law as a Schedule I drug.

“As long as cannabis is considered a Schedule I drug, licensed sellers in Illinois will continue to have difficulty securing investment from banks and other businesses,” Gordon-Booth said.

She noted Illinois’ Restore, Reinvest and Renew Program delivers resources to underserved communities hardest hit “War on Drugs” policies.

“After today, I am encouraged and more hopeful that other states will follow our lead to undo systemic damage and chart a more positive future,” Gordon-Booth said.