House Members Just Approved A Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

I have some good news and some bad news. What, did you think you were going to get solely good news in the year of our Lord 2019?! Think again. The good news is that the House Judiciary Committee just approved a bill that could lead to the decriminalization of marijuana. The bad news is it still has a long road ahead in order to become law. The worse news is the fact that there are still narcs who think weed should be illegal.

On Wednesday the House Judiciary Committee voted 24-10 to approve Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, or MORE, which would remove marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances. The bill would also require federal courts to expunge convictions for marijuana offenses and authorize a 5 percent tax on marijuana sales. Not to be dramatic, but this is one of the sexiest bills I have ever heard of.

This rules, but as I said before, there is still a long road ahead. The House Judiciary Committee is the only committee that has even voted on the bill, and it’s not even a guarantee that the House would vote to pass it. Democrats are pretty divided on how to go about the decriminalization of marijuana, and some aren’t even for it.

Just to regroup here, the decriminalization of marijuana would have many benefits. First of all, the epidemic of mass incarceration is strongly supported by locking people — mainly black men — up for non-violent drug offense such as possession of marijuana. There are people in prison for having weed on them — an offense I, and probably you, have made countless times and gotten off scot-free. This has to stop. Also, marijuana has health benefits AND is good for the economy. The list goes on and on.

Here’s to hoping lawmakers wake the f*ck up and pass the bill. In the meantime, read up about the argument for decriminalization/legalization of all drugs in a piece we wrote here.

Images: Giphy (1), Twitter (1)

New York Could Become the First State to Decriminalize Sex Work

First New York was the first place to champion a rat who could carry an entire slice of pizza (iconic), and now we just might be the first state to decriminalize sex work. Slay. Now, some of you may be thinking, “Decriminalize sex work? But how? And why?” Girl, I got you.

A bill called Stop Violence in the Sex Trades Act (SVSTA) was composed by progressive legislators and aims to repeal penalties for selling and buying sex.  The bill also proposes repealing “promotion charges” AKA “pimping” (which famously ain’t easy), so that sex workers cannot be penalized for helping each other out. In short, this bill would allow sex workers to do their jobs without the fear of facing jail time. Imagine that.

The SVSTA also makes a point that sex trafficking and selling/buying sex from minors will remain 100 percent illegal because duh. People are often quick to dismiss the idea of decriminalizing or legalizing sex work because they assume this means sex trafficking will fall under that category and thus also become legal. Honey, no. Consensual sex work and sex trafficking are two completely separate, very different things, and failing to differentiate the two is dangerous for those who choose to work in the sex work industry. When we don’t think of them separately, sex work becomes unsafe because laws meant to stop sex trafficking affect sex workers and make their work impossible and dangerous. They are forced to work underground and are vulnerable to police brutality and other types of violence. So, why not pass laws to protect the many women, men, and nonbinary folks who make a living as sex workers and simply want to be able to do so without getting harmed? That’s what this bill is saying, dude!

Sex workers are stigmatized because we capitalize on male attention. Instead of enduring it, we revel in it. Then we have the audacity to profit from it.

— YE$ DADDY ? Rick's Chicago 6/8 ? (@fiercestripper) June 5, 2019

The bill will be introduced to the Senate by State Sen. Julia Salazar, who advocated for decriminalizing sex work during her campaign. It’s also notable that the bill was crafted in collaboration with Decrim NY, a coalition that works to “decriminalize, decarcerate, and destigmatize” sex work in New York. So, the legislation comes from people who have a deep understanding of the field they are talking about and advocating for. Again, imagine that.

Presumably, the bill will face a lot of backlash. People, including Democrats, are uncomfortable with the topic of sex work. This legislation will, however, force lawmakers to begin conversations about decriminalizing sex work, and that’s at least a start. Rumor has it that sometimes our government gets things done (been a while since I’ve seen some proof), so here’s to hoping that is the case with SVSTA.

Image: Twitter: (@fiercestripper)