Sen. Booker: ‘Congress Must Start to Move' on Legalizing Marijuana at Federal Level

By Ashlianna Kreiner | July 21, 2021 | 11:21am EDT
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.)   (Getty Images)
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) (Getty Images)

(CNS News) – In a July 19 tweet, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) claimed the “American people want marijuana legalized at the federal level,” and that “Congress must start to move on our framework to get this done.” He also shared an article from The Hill about the topic.

The full tweet reads, “The American people want marijuana legalized at the federal level. Tens of millions of Americans have already voted for legalization at the state level from red and blue states alike. Congress must start to move on our framework to get this done.”

According to a 2021 Pew Research Center article, “An overwhelming majority of U.S. adults (91%) say either that marijuana should be legal for medical and recreational use (60%) or that it should be legal for medical use only (31%). Just 8% say the drug should not be legal in any form.”

The article Booker shared states, “Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) will hold a news conference to introduce a discussion draft of the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act.”

According to The Hill, this proposal would still allow states to set their own marijuana laws.

“A media advisory for the news conference states that the legislative proposal ‘would end the decades of harm inflicted on communities of color by removing cannabis from the federal list of controlled substances and empowering states to implement their own cannabis laws,’” The Hill reported.

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

“There is an urgency to this because there are people all over our country seeing their lives destroyed,” said Booker, as reported.  “They’re hurt.”

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) covers potential risks of marijuana addiction as well as the short- and long-term side effects of the drug. The CDC reports, “about 1 in 10 marijuana users will become addicted. For people who begin using younger than 18, that number rises to 1 in 6.”

The CDC also explains that heavy users can experience “short-term problems with attention, memory, and learning, which can affect relationships and mood.”

Marijuana can also cause permanent neurological damage.

Homeless encampments in Los Angeles.  (Getty Images)
Homeless encampments in Los Angeles. (Getty Images)

“When marijuana users begin using as teenagers, the drug may reduce attention, memory, and learning functions and affect how the brain builds connections between the areas necessary for these functions” says the CDC, and “marijuana’s effects on these abilities may last a long time or even be permanent.”

This means that a heavy user of marijuana may have a difficult time with memory and may not do well in school.

The CDC explains that an overdose is “unlikely, but that doesn’t mean marijuana is harmless. The signs of using too much marijuana are similar to the typical effects of using marijuana but more severe. These signs may include extreme confusion, anxiety, paranoia, panic, fast heart rate, delusions or hallucinations, increased blood pressure, and severe nausea or vomiting. In some cases, these reactions can lead to unintentional injury such as a motor vehicle crash, fall, or poisoning.”

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