U.S.

Cory Booker Asks Government to Legalize Marijuana, Again, This Time as Presidential Candidate

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker has asked the United States government to decriminalize marijuana each of the past two years. Now he’s doing it as a presidential candidate.

Booker, one of the many upper-echelon Democrats who has filed to run for president in 2020, continued his legalization of marijuana plea Thursday night when he rolled out this tweet.

“The federal government should do the right thing and help to not only end the prohibition of marijuana but also expunge the records of people convicted of marijuana use and possession.”

Last week Sen. Booker submitted the Marijuana Justice Act along with Reps. Barbara Lee and Ro Khanna, both California Democrats, to legalize marijuana on the federal level. Booker issued a statement that said the war on drugs has become a “war on people” based on race and income inequality.

“The War on Drugs has not been a war on drugs, it’s been a war on people, and disproportionately people of color and low-income individuals,” Booker said. “The Marijuana Justice Act seeks to reverse decades of this unfair, unjust, and failed policy.”

Booker also stated he wants communities where drugs have torn families apart to begin a rebuilding process.

“It’s not enough to simply decriminalize marijuana. We must also repair the damage caused by reinvesting in those communities that have been most harmed by the War on Drugs,” he said in his statement. “And we must expunge the records of those who have served their time. The end we seek is not just legalization, it’s justice.”

The graphic below, provided by Statista, illustrates the laws on marijuana in the U.S.

20190308_Weed_Marijuana_States_Newsweek_Statista_ Laws on marijuana in the U.S. Statista

After Booker first initiated the act in 2017, it gained little traction until Sen. Bernie Sanders, who’s also in the 2020 race, signed on with Booker in the summer of 2018. Sanders compared marijuana use to the opioid crisis crawling through America.

"What we are seeing in an ahistorical manner is life expectancy is actually going down because of the number of deaths attributed to opioid addiction among other factors," Sanders said during 2018. “We are seeing in virtually every state in this country people’s lives are being wrecked, we’re talking about hundreds of thousands of people’s lives.”

Justin Strekal, the political director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said last year that legalization of marijuana was “good politics” for the Democratic Party.

"The constituencies which the party claims to stand for are the ones who have most felt the weight of prohibition and the lifelong consequences of prohibition," Strekal said.

This article was updated to include an infographic.

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