Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Kamala Harris and Property Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler introduced a new bill on Tuesday, to decriminalize cannabis nationally in the U.S. and expunge all previous cannabis convictions.

The bill is referred to as the Marijuana Reinvestment and Expungement Act, and would get rid of cannabis from the U.S.’s Controlled Substances Act, leaving it up to states to set their personal policies towards the cannabis plant.

The bill would also need resentencing and expungement of prior weed convictions, and charge a 5 % tax on cannabis sales to assistance the “Opportunity Trust Fund”.

This fund would help companies owned by “socially and economically disadvantaged individuals”, as nicely as these impacted by the War on Drugs.

The bill would also advantage immigrants by no longer subjecting them to deportation and citizenship denial primarily based on minor cannabis offences.

Cannabis decriminalization has been viewed as a civil rights battle in the U.S., provided that minorities are disproportionately impacted by cannabis convictions.

An evaluation by the American Civil Liberties Union showed that black folks are three.73 instances a lot more probably to be arrested due to cannabis than white folks. The evaluation was carried out from 2001 to 2011.

Each Chairman Nadler and Harris brought up racial injustice in their reasoning for the bill. Chairman Nadler mentioned in a statement that these with criminal cannabis convictions are “second class citizens.”

“Their vote, access to education, employment, and housing are all negatively impacted,” he mentioned.“ Racially motivated enforcement of marijuana laws has disproportionately impacted communities of colour.

It is previous time to ideal this incorrect nationwide and operate to view marijuana use as an situation of individual option and public overall health, not criminal behavior.”

Harris, who had previously not supported the legalization of recreational cannabis in her dwelling state of California in 2010, now says that “times have changed.”

“We require to get started regulating marijuana and expunge marijuana convictions from the records of millions of Americans so they can get on with their lives,” she mentioned in a statement.

“As marijuana becomes legal across the nation, we should make positive absolutely everyone — specifically communities of colour that have been disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs — has a genuine chance to participate in this expanding sector.”

Harris and Nadler’s work to decriminalize cannabis might have public assistance behind them.

A Gallup poll from final month showed that 64 per cent of Americans assistance legalizing cannabis — up from 44 per cent a decade earlier.

Harris is not the only Democratic presidential candidate to assistance cannabis decriminalization, or to introduce legislation.

Front runner Joe Biden released a program on Tuesday that would decriminalize cannabis nationally, expunge previous convictions and legalize it for health-related purposes, but not legalize it for recreational use federally.

Sen. Cory Booker has introduced the Marijuana Justice Act of 2019, which Harris has co-sponsored.