New Jersey Senator and 2020 presidential candidate Cory Booker (D) isn't happy with the way some of his rivals are treating marijuana issues.
Support for federal cannabis legalization has never been higher among Democratic presidential hopefuls than it is right now. And, so far, Booker has the most cannabis-friendly platform among 2020 contenders. But he's also arguably the most serious about cannabis as a social justice issue, and he wants people to know that America's War on Drugs is no laughing matter. That's why he's started calling out fellow Democratic candidates for taking the issue too lightly.
"We have presidential candidates, senators bragging about their pot use while there are kids who can't get a job because they have a nonviolent offense for doing things that two of the last three presidents did," Booker said on MSNBC's Hardball last week, referring to Presidents Obama and Clinton.
Booker's criticism seems to be aimed at Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), who riffed on her cannabis experience during an interview with 'The Breakfast Club' last month. When asked about whether or not Harris had ever tried marijuana, she quipped, "Half my family’s from Jamaica. Are you kidding me?"
And in case that didn't make things obvious enough, she added, "I have. And I inhaled."
While listeners likely chuckled at her lighthearted response, critics like Booker took exception to Harris' remarks because they are symptomatic of the disparities in the American justice system. Those with wealth and influence can smoke cannabis and still become politicians or even run for president, but people from poor communities often face harsh consequences for the exact same actions. Getting busted for something as simple as smoking a joint can severely hinder a person's ability to get a job, to rent a place to live and to get the higher education needed to realize their potential. In some states, cannabis offenders won't be able to vote, let alone run for public office. So cannabis prohibition isn't a laughing matter for the millions of people who have been marginalized by the War on Drugs.
That's why Booker is calling out his presidential rivals for not taking prohibition and the disparities in drug enforcement seriously.
"Do not talk to me about legalizing marijuana unless in the same breath you talk to me about expunging the records of the millions of people that are suffering with not being able to find a job," he said during a campaign speech on Sunday.
So it looks like cannabis has ended the honeymoon period among presidential hopefuls.
h/t: Fox News