There’s a central California mom who wants to do away with the stigma—once and for all—that smoking marijuana while raising kids somehow makes you a bad parent. “Mommy needs a joint just as much as mommy needs a glass of wine,” Kaycee Bawdon told TODAY on Tuesday. Her blog, “The Cannavist Mom,” serves as a platform for other mothers share a similar sentiment.
“I’ve heard from hundreds of moms who use marijuana,” she said. “They’re happy that I’m out there, putting it out there. There are so many moms that are still hiding because they’re ashamed. And you shouldn’t be ashamed.”
But here’s the problem: Bawdon is white, and if you know anything about how the justice system works, then you know Black folks don’t have this sort of liberty.
According to reports, though Black and white folks smoke close to an equal amount of weed, Black people are still 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for possession. In states like Washington and Colorado, where recreational marijuana use is legal, Black people are still twice as likely to be arrested for breaking state laws.
“This has done serious damage to our communities,” Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ.) said in a Facebook Live video on Tuesday. “It’s done serious damage to American families. Finding ways to take communities that have been disproportionately impacted and helping them to heal, helping them to recover from what has been an unjust application of the law.”
On Tuesday, Booker announced plans for a Marijuana Justice Act as a means to fight for “restorative justice” nationwide. Under the bill, Mary Jane—which HuffPost notes is currently listed as a Schedule 1 drug—would be removed from the list of controlled substances. It would also cut federal funding for states “where people of color and low-income individuals are disproportionately arrested or incarcerated” in an effort to push those states into changing their laws.
“For decades, the failed War on Drugs has locked up millions of nonviolent drug offenders—especially for marijuana-related offenses—at an incredible cost of lost human potential, torn apart families and communities, and taxpayer dollars,” Booker stated on Facebook. “The effects of the drug war have had a disproportionately devastating impact on Americans of color and the poor.”
The Marijuana Justice Act would call for the records of all currently “criminals” to be expunged of possession convictions. According to HuffPost, it would also create a $500 million Community Reinvestment Fund for impacted communities to aid in fostering job training, reentry services, expenses for the expungement of convictions, public libraries, community centers, youth programs and health education programs.
“Descheduling marijuana and applying that change retroactively to people currently serving time for marijuana offenses is a necessary step in correcting this unjust system,” Booker said in a statement. “States have so far led the way in reforming our criminal justice system and it’s about time the federal government catches up and begins to assert leadership.”
Watch the Facebook Live video below.