Presidential candidate Booker speaks up on marijuana

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The former Newark, NJ mayor is a well-known critic of the war on drugs

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker is the latest Democrat to step up and say that he will consider running for President of the U.S. next year. The race is on to see which of the many Democratic candidates can secure the nomination and Booker is making it known that one of the key components to his campaign platform is going to be marijuana reform.

Booker, the former mayor of Newark, has long asserted that the war on drugs was a failure. He has criticized the attempts of the government to keep marijuana illegal and is also behind some of the most advanced legislation on marijuana in Congress. His position on the subject is so strong that NORML has awarded him a grade of A+.

In an interview on the Tom Joyner Morning Show, where he launched his presidential run, Booker wasted no time getting behind the subject that is approved by over 66% of Americans. He said, “It means changing our drug laws, ending prohibition against marijuana, which has led—black folks are no different in their usage rates or even the dealing rates, but are almost four times more likely to be incarcerated for marijuana. We do not have equal justice under the law.”

Booker is the chief sponsor of a bill, the Marijuana Justice Act, that seeks to end federal prohibition of marijuana. The bill hopes to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and would also penalize states where marijuana laws are enforced more against one race than another. It further hopes to establish a federal grant program that would contribute funds to communities that have been the target of the war on drugs.

The lawmaker is also behind the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act, which was drafted to provide protection for medical cannabis patients and businesses from federal intervention. It also stipulates that the Drug Enforcement Administration would license additional cultivators to allow for federal marijuana research.

At one point, Booker stated, “Federal marijuana policy has long overstepped the boundaries of common sense, fiscal prudence, and compassion. Not to mention the hypocrisy of presidents, senators and Congress members openly admiring they have done a drug that others in this country, less privileged, have been arrested for.”

Based on his actions and comments so far, there’s a good chance marijuana would find legalization under Booker’s presidency.