Comprehensive Criminal Justice Reform Bill Passes U.S Senate Judiciary Committee

criminal justice reformThe U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee voted 15 to 5 today to pass the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, which would reduce mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses, expand early release programs and expand the federal “safety valve”, (which gives judges discretion to give an individual a sentence lower than the mandatory minimum).

“This vote today is a huge step toward ending the failed policies of the war on drugs,” says Michael Collins, Policy Manager at the Drug Policy Alliance’s Office of National Affairs. “To see Republicans and Democrats join hands to pass this bill gives me great hope we’ll have legislation on the President’s desk very soon.”

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Bipartisan Legislation to Legalize Medical Use of Low-THC Cannabis Introduced in U.S. Senate

Bipartisan legislation to exempt low-THC cannabis from the United States list of controlled substances when being used to treat seizure disorders such as epilepsy.WTCannabis has been filed in the United States Senate The bill  – titled the Therapeutic Hemp Medical Access Act of 2015 – was filed by Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Ron Wyden (D-OR), along with co-sponsors Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Michael Bennet (D-CO).

“This bill would provide children and adults alike with access to medicine they need to treat life-threatening conditions,” Senator Gardner said in a Wednesday press release. “Colorado has become a haven for people in need and parents desperate to pursue treatment for their children. Making this medicine available nationwide is the right thing to do, and would help families cope with these serious illnesses.”

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Oregon Senate Judiciary Committee Votes to Put Cannabis Legalization on Ballot This November

Yesterday Oregon’s Senate Judiciary Committee voted 3 to 2 to put Senate Bill 1556, a proposal to legalize recreational cannabis, to a vote of the people this November. saved18The measure will soon be assigned to its second committee, where its approval will send it to the full Senate.

If approved into law, Senate Bill 1556 would legalize the possession of up to 6 ounces of cannabis (initially it would have been 8 ounces, but it was amended), as well as the private cultivation of up to 3 plants, for those 21 and older. In addition, state-licensed cannabis retail outlets would be legalized, with the legislator tasked with establishing a regulatory system.

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U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Bipartisan Legislation Reforming Drug Laws

Most Expansive Drug Sentencing Reform in Decades Would Reduce Mandatory Minimums, Give Judges More Discretion, and Release Some Nonviolent Drug Offenders from Prison Earlysmartact

Today the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee passed bipartisan sentencing reform legislation that would reduce the federal prison population, decrease racial disparities, save taxpayer money, and reunite nonviolent drug law offenders with their families sooner.  The reforms are supported by a strange bedfellows group of senators, including Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah), Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Jeff Flake (R-Arizona), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Carl Levin (D-MI) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

“The tide has turned against punitive drug policies that destroy lives and tear families apart,“ said Bill Piper, director of national affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance. “From liberal stalwarts to Tea Party favorites there’s now consensus that our country incarcerates too many people, for too much time, at too much expense to taxpayers.”

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