PEORIA, Ill. – State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth, D-Peoria, lead sponsor of cannabis decriminalization efforts in Illinois, issued the following statement Thursday in response to President Joe Biden’s action on cannabis reform. Interviews with Gordon-Booth are also available upon request.
“I want to thank President Biden for acting on what too many individuals and broken families already 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.
“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. The announced federal pardon will immediately help thousands of individuals, and states should immediately follow suit.
“Additionally, the President’s intention to review cannabis’ classification under federal law will correct a misguided policy that continues to have consequences in states that have legalized cannabis. 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.
“Here in Illinois, we also understood that we had to invest in communities and neighborhoods that were hardest hit by failed policies. That’s why we created as part of legalization the Restore, Reinvest, and Renew Program. It underscores our commitment to equity, and is now directly delivering needed resources to underserved communities.
“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.”