Cory Booker Would ‘Absolutely’ Consider Mass Marijuana Pardons If Elected President
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, said on Wednesday night that he would consider issuing mass pardons and commutations for marijuana offenses if elected to the White House.
“Absolutely,” he said in response to a question during a CNN town hall about whether he would consider taking executive action to clear people punished under federal cannabis laws.
“The war on drugs has been a war on people,” Booker said. “As president of the United States, your job is to pursue justice. And what we see right now is so many folks suffering.”
“If I am your president I am going to fight to make sure that we have sane drug laws and that we expunge the records of those people who are going through convictions and the aftermath for things like marijuana,” he said.
The senator spoke about racial disparities in cannabis enforcement and said that discussions about ending prohibition have to include ways to rectify the damage that’s already been done.
“We fundamentally have laws in this country that have treated people differently,” he said. “I’m hoping all of us when we talk about marijuana legalization or marijuana decriminalization, in the same breath we’ve got to talk about expunging the records of everyone who is still suffering.”
“Right now we have a lot of injustice in our criminal justice system.”
Cory Booker says he "absolutely” would consider mass commutations and pardons for federal marijuana offenses if he were to become president. #BookerTownHall https://t.co/8If7Lkd89C pic.twitter.com/DGyHbMtlwb
— CNN (@CNN) March 28, 2019
Booker has made cannabis and drug policy reform a centerpiece of his presidential bid during a campaign in which every other major Democratic contender now supports marijuana legalization.
That's why I introduced the Marijuana Justice Act—a critical first step to address this injustice. Join me: https://t.co/sgBDqRNoW5 pic.twitter.com/BTZxy3khAD
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) March 28, 2019
In the Senate, he is the chief sponsor of the Marijuana Justice Act, which would deschedule cannabis and withhold certain federal funds from states that maintain racially discriminatory enforcement of prohibition.
Several of his primary opponents have cosponsored the bill.
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Photo courtesy of Senate Democrats.