"It's time to put wellness and compassion ahead of trauma and punishment," Congresswoman Cori Bush said in a statement.
A bill to end criminal penalties for drug possession at the federal level was unveiled by Democrats on Tuesday, ahead of the 50th anniversary when President Richard Nixon declared the "war on drugs."
The Drug Policy Reform Act (DPRA) would decriminalize personal use possession of all scheduled drugs—including marijuana, heroin and cocaine—and automatically expunge records and provide for resentencing for those serving time for certain drug-related arrests. It would also prohibit the denial of employment, immigration status, public benefits, voting rights, and more based upon a criminal history for drug possession.
Under the DPRA, authority and criteria for the classification of substances would shift from the U.S. Attorney General to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS).
The HHS would be responsible for producing a report on the benchmark amount for personal use drug possession and recommendations for preventing the prosecution of people possessing or distributing personal use quantities for each drug.