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Cory Booker Visits Marijuana Manufacturer In California Amid Renewed Push For Federal Legalization Bill



Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) paid a visit to a marijuana manufacturing facility in Sacramento this week, touring the operation and speaking with staff as he continues his push for federal legalization.

Just weeks after reintroducing the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA) with 17 other Democratic senators, Booker took a trip to Natura on Monday, gaining additional industry perspective from a leading manufacturer in the state.

Josh Schmidt, vice president of business development at Natura, said the company was “thrilled” to host Booker “for an insightful dive into the world of cannabis.”

With the CAOA reintroduction, the senator is “championing federal reform to prioritize justice and empower states,” he said. “Grateful for his support as we pave the way for a brighter, more equitable future. Cory Booker is truly a champion of cannabis and plant medicine.”

At the facility, Booker said “we’re in a weird place in our country where we’ve had this prohibition that has lasted for generations that has really punished folks.”


“I’m from Newark where marijuana enforcement is disproportionately focused on low income people, people of color, people who are suffering, people who are struggling. And we have this perverse reality in America where we have people with criminal convictions who are doing things that presidents and congress people and senators have admitted to doing,” he said, according to High Times. “The hypocrisy of that is maddening.”

“I came here to, not learn, but connect with these people that are part of a larger movement in America for justice and I’ve just seen that each and every one of you are willing to work in an industry that’s not easy, but also wants to be in a country where freedom’s never been easy,” the senator said. “Justice has never been easy but we need people like us to stand up for it. It’s what makes it possible.”

Booker’s visit to the business is all the more notable when considering his evolving position on congressional cannabis banking legislation that stands to benefit state-licensed companies like Natura. While he’s previously opposed the incremental reform without comprehensive, equity-centered legalization enacted first, he’s come to embrace the banking measure as a necessary step.

The legalization bill Booker is sponsoring again has dim prospects of passage this year. Democrats only hold a narrow majority in the Senate and would need GOP buy-in to advance it through the chamber. And it’s highly unlikely that the GOP-controlled House would take it up, especially under the leadership of anti-cannabis Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA).

The bill’s reintroduction came one day after the Justice Department announced that it is moving to reschedule cannabis in a historic policy shift.

At a presser unveiling the latest CAOA, Booker also said lawmakers got to the “one yard line” with the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act last Congress, and “it was a step in the right direction” with certain equity provisions attached.

That’s a notable rhetorical shift compared to the press conference unveiling the original CAOA in 2021, where Booker vowed to block any efforts to advance cannabis banking reform before legalization is enacted.

Meanwhile, in January, the senator also reintroduced a bill to allow people living in federally assisted housing to use marijuana in compliance with state law without fear of losing their homes.

While Booker has long championed cannabis reform, he’s also said it’s been “frustrating” to see marijuana legalization fall short of equity goals, which he said is partly due to ongoing federal prohibition. And while he’s pushing for reform, he characterized cannabis as a “dangerous” drug that hasn’t been studied enough.

Schumer Says ‘Great Experiments’ With Marijuana Legalization By States Have Given Americans ‘More Freedoms’

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