New Jersey Senator and presidential candidate Cory Booker laid out his plans for cannabis reform at the presidential town hall in Orangeburg, South Carolina on Wednesday, during an event moderated by CNN anchor Don Lemon.
"The War on Drugs has been a war on people," he said. "We fundamentally have different laws in this country, that are treating people differently," he said. "Marijuana enforcement is disproportionately impacting black and brown communities."
"There is no difference in America between using and even selling marijuana between blacks and whites, but if you’re African American in this country, you’re almost four times more likely to be arrested for that."
This amounts to no small number, either. According to a report from the ACLU, this equalled out to 8 million marijuana arrests between 2001 and 2010.
Booker also compared getting a marijuana conviction to getting a life sentence.
"You can’t get a business license, you can’t get a job, you can’t get a loan from a bank,” he said. “It’s like a lifetime sentence compressing your economic wellbeing.”
All of this, he noted, for an offence that “that two of the last three Presidents admitted to doing.”
Booker said it was out of concern for these issues that he recently reintroduced the Marijuana Justice Act, a bill looking to remove cannabis from the list of controlled substances. Even if this measure proves successful, however, he said that his efforts would not end there.
“I’m hoping all of us, when we talk about marijuana legalization or decriminalization, in the same breath, we’ve got to talk about expunging the records of everyone who is still suffering.”
Watch the full clip from CNN below.