PHILADELPHIA, April 26, 2018 – Today, Councilman Derek Green (At-Large) put forth a charge to Congress via a resolution to support legislation that will federally decriminalize marijuana across the United States and thereby, improve relevant public policy.
Senate Bill 1689, authored by Senator Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), seeks to nullify cannabis laws that contribute in large part to the disproportionate incarceration of minorities, as well as directly conflict with the laws of 29 states who have already legalized recreational or medical marijuana. In 2014, Philadelphia became one of the first large cities to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, which then-Councilman Jim Kenney spearheaded.
“I applaud Sen. Booker for his leadership in changing the national standard and perspective of marijuana,” said Councilman Green. “To have federal laws that still prohibit cannabis in any form, especially now that more than half of the U.S. has laws permitting its use, is essentially counterproductive and redundant. We also cannot expect to stop the unjust incarceration of minorities – particularly black youth – and further decrease the prison population when such laws impact them the most.”
Earlier this month, Councilman Green introduced a resolution authorizing the City’s Committee on Law and Government to conduct hearings regarding screenings of parolees and those on probation, for THC, the psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana. These procedures and other court-ordered drug treatment programs have proven costly for Philadelphia taxpayers, who in 2014, funded over 8,000 treatment programs that cost the City a total of $28 million.
On the federal level, Sen. Booker’s legislation would not only legalize cannabis, but would also withhold money from states whose cannabis laws exhibit a disproportionate incarceration rate and allow those who have been affected – or their families – to file suit.
Watch Councilman Green’s remarks before the vote on the resolution during the Stated Meeting held April 26, 2018:
Councilman Derek S. Green, Esquire is currently serving his first term as an At-Large member of Philadelphia City Council. Green is Chair of Council’s Committee on the Disabled and Persons with Special Needs. More information at www.phlcouncil.com/DerekGreen