If you're familiar with New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, you likely won't be surprised to hear that he's making federal marijuana reform a central part of his bid for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in 2020. Booker has made marijuana legalization a central part of his career over the past couple of years. Senator Booker takes issue with the racial disparities in the enforcement of cannabis laws and the overcrowded prisons that result from the War on Drugs.
Fixing those problems "means changing our drug laws, ending prohibition against marijuana," according to Booker.
"Black folks are no different in their usage rates or even the dealing rates [of cannabis], but are almost four times more likely to be incarcerated for marijuana," he said during a recent interview on the Tom Joyner Morning Show. "We do not have equal justice under the law."
Booker has filed a few very strong pieces of marijuana legislation in recent years. In 2015, he introduced the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act, which made history as the first Senate bill that proposed to remove cannabis from the list of Schedule I drugs in the Controlled Substances Act. That move would open the door to recognizing marijuana as medicine while also providing researchers with greater freedom to research the benefits and potential risks of cannabis.
Senator Booker followed the CARERS Act up in 2017 with the Marijuana Justice Act. Not only would the Marijuana Justice Act have seen federal cannabis policies drastically loosened, but it also would have withheld federal money from states with racially disparate incarceration and arrest rates.
Though neither of these very progressive marijuana bills were passed, Booker's track record makes him one of the strongest voices for serious federal marijuana reform currently running for the presidency in 2020. If successful, President Booker would likely lead the most cannabis-friendly administration that America has ever seen.
H/T: The Hill